The Thermal Insulation Contractors Association (TICA) has welcomed the highest number of women to join its latest cohort of apprentices – following a successful East Midlands pilot programme.
Of the 71 apprentices joining its latest quarterly intake at its national training centre in Darlington, six are female with a further two women already having inducted earlier this year – compared with just one during the whole of 2022.
Four were recruited as a result of TICA’s pilot initiative in Nottingham, which was designed to encourage more women to consider a career within the male-dominated industry.
The national training provider attended several career fairs and colleges across the city and staged two recruitment days to raise awareness of the available opportunities and to match applicants with local employers.
The female apprentices range in age from 16 to 50 and are from a variety of backgrounds and careers, including a special educational needs teacher, shop worker, and school leaver. In all, 12 female candidates attended the two recruitment days, and it is hoped the remainder may apply at a later date.
The remaining four female apprentices at TICA were directly recruited by employers Altrad UK and Powertherm Contract Services.
Marion Marsland, chief executive of TICA, said: “Prior to 2023, we welcomed on average just one female apprentice every three years. While the numbers may still be low, it represents a significant leap forward. It’s also encouraging to see that employers also
recognise the benefits of having a more diverse workforce.
“Women haven’t always seen construction as a career option due to a perception that it involves heavy manual work. This isn’t the case and TICA will continue to encourage and inspire more women to break down those invisible barriers that have prevented them from gaining well-qualified and well-paid jobs.”
The thermal insulation industry is currently facing a recruitment shortage caused by an ageing workforce nearing retirement and a reduction in numbers of EU workers.
Helen Anderson, head of learning at TICA, added: “We are experiencing a big demand for apprentices to bridge the resulting skills shortage, a gap that we are starting to bridge.
“TICA is working with its employers to help them recruit directly, offering tailored support with everything from attending careers fairs, linking up with colleges, and organising recruitment campaigns and interviews.”
It has also provided its members with free magnetic van stickers which is aimed at female recruits that features a QR code that provide further information on a career in thermal insulation.
TICA’s apprenticeships combines practical on-site experience with employers with developing skills and best practice at TICA’s national training centre as apprentices work towards nationally recognised qualifications.