Women in Construction, Beth Skinner Part One

Bricklayer Beth Skinner shares her experience of working in her trade, her advice for anyone considering an Apprenticeship and what you’ll find in her tool kit.

What’s your favourite thing about working as a Bricklayer?

Having the freedom to work in an environment that is simple and easy. I turn up to work everyday with a bag of tools, boots and a hardhat. Theres no restrictions really, Im allowed to building brick and block corners, corbels, banding courses and everything else. Not many people can say that they have the skills to be able to do that so arriving to site every morning building, laughing and learning without even realising because Im just enjoying every minute is the best feeling.

What was your experience as an Apprentice?

Tough at times. It can be very physically and mentally demanding but working with the right people makes it so much easier. I had a few changes during my apprenticeship with moving gang and site but it was the best decision I made for myself and my career. I’ve often doubted my abilities as a bricklayer, thinking I’m lucky to be in the situation I am because not many people will take me, being a female bricklayer but that really isn’t the case. Once people see how hard I’m willing to work and that I want to learn from them everything else doesn’t matter. I’m very grateful for my experiences as a bricklaying apprentice because its taught me that change is good and to work outside your comfort zone.

Best advice for anyone considering an Apprenticeship or due to start one?

Based on my own experiences as an apprentice all you need to do is show up with the right attitude and put the hard work in. You’re in such an amazing position to be starting an apprenticeship over people going to university and further education because you’re learning from people with years of hands on experience, that is a golden opportunity and people don’t realise that. Your learning is on the job, you’re getting a wage every week, you’re gaining a qualification (NVQ and Diploma) without having to pay a penny. Take full advantage of your opportunity, listen to the person teaching you and learn as much as you can from them.

What would we find in your tool kit?

My tool bag consists of a Marshalltown trowel, Marshalltown point trowel, OX lump hammer, OX bolster, OX brick hammer, OX tape measure, Stabila level, Marshalltown jointer, barrel jointer and Marshalltown brick line on OX pins.

Check out Beth’s YouTube channel here.