Celebrating 'Women in Construction'

We are celebrating Women in Construction Week (March 6th – 12th 2022). At present women make up only 11% of the entire construction workforce (1% on site) which is a woefully small figure.  Powdertech Corby would like to help promote the construction sector, and all the industries under that wide umbrella, to women, as an exciting and rewarding occupation.  

We’d like to tell you a bit about three women who have chosen to work in this sector, for Powdertech Corby.

First up, find out why Tasha has become our specialist ‘sample coater’

Natasha, Production Operative at Powdertech Corby, tells us about her passion for coating metal.

Hi Tasha, so why mechanics, metal and paint?

My uncle was a fanatic with car and bike repairs, and it looked like fun – so I used to help him out. It was really exciting to spray-paint the motorbikes. When I got to college I thought I’d try and get work in a garage but no one took me seriously – they just laughed. Luckily my uncle did take me seriously and found me some garage work experience.  After a while I went self-employed, priming and painting cars at a local garage and gaining knowledge of mechanics. I hadn’t really thought of ‘powder’ paint spraying until I happened to see Powdertech’s job advertised in August 2021.  Having a full-time employed role was attractive, so I applied and was really excited to get the job.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I get involved with the preparation of metal parts for spraying in the automated booths – such as jigging (hanging the architectural metal work) and secure packing and loading of the coated parts. I have also taken over most of the responsibility for preparing samples that customers have requested. These samples, being only small pieces of metal and one-offs in a particular colour, are done in our hand spray booth.

And what do you enjoy most about your role?

Ah – definitely spraying the beautiful powder finishes and being creative! In the past I always worked with wet paint, so I am really enjoying learning methods of achieving interesting finishes with powder – textures, sheen, frosting, wood and stone finish effects. It’s wonderful to see the final results.

What new skills have you learnt?

Dealing with paint coatings formed by powder and the spray gun application techniques. I’m also learning about the technical elements such as the gloss and thickness readings that must be taken on each batch processed.

What are the challenges around working in a male dominated environment?

As a woman I have felt a strong need to prove both my mental and physical capabilities working in a male-dominated manufacturing arena. It is sometimes difficult to be the only woman in a room full of men, but I am used to it and it doesn’t bother me significantly anymore. I do feel it is getting easier as women working in different areas of industry are becoming more accepted.

Do you think women have equal opportunities in our industry?

Although there are more opportunities for women now there are not significantly more; there is quite a long way to go. Gender stereotypical views are still prominent and careers advice in school and college still seems to promote these ideas. 

What would you say to other women thinking about joining a career in manufacturing or construction?

If you see a job that looks interesting and excites you - go for it. Don’t spend any time worrying that it might be seen as a male role. Forget all of that and take the leap even if you feel insecure. It is hugely satisfying to be involved with work that is creative – at the end of the day you can see what you, and the team, have achieved.

Where do you aspire to progress in your own career?

Well – my dream has always been to one day open my own garage where I can use my priming and paint spraying skills to run a successful business. For now, I am focussing on gaining lots of practical and technical experience and improving my skills in powder coating.

Anything else you’d like to share for ‘Women in Construction’ Week.

I just want to emphasise that if you see a job that you believe you could do well, do not be held back by gender or by not having all the right qualifications or experience. Many firms will take someone on who is keen and has potential to learn on the job. Go for it and take the chance.

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