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Tradespeople and contractors: how do I get an entry-level job in the trades as a young woman?

Asked by Yanaba (655 points ) October 20th, 2011

I have no background or training in these things but I’m good with my hands, a bit of an artist, a problem solver and fearless. I’m a hard worker and a perfectionist and I would be great at something like tiling, painting, mosaics, furniture reupholstering or wood detail work, in a residential setting or workshop. I would love to learn anything anyone will teach me, I’m technically educated enough to handle learning anything technical (assisting an electrician or a plumber, mechanics or welding for example) and I will be happy to be their little gopher for cheap or for free if necessary as long as I’m learning. But I have had no luck so far and I’m told that being a woman is the main problem.

I haven’t had the opportunity to use most tools, am in the midst of getting my driver’s license here, and can’t afford to go to college for this stuff at the moment because it is far away and I would still be paying foreigner fees for the next year or two. I have a great head for marketing and social media if it might help, and I thoroughly believe in listening to the customer and doing exactly what it takes to make them happy, because most contractors I’ve had (here in the UK) have done a terrible job. That means there is a major niche for competence and I am very willing to show anyone who takes a chance on me that their trust was well-placed.

What can I do to get hired by a tradesperson or contractor, being that I am a woman (!) and not trained? Thanks for any help!

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