TICA urges more women to consider a career in the thermal insulation industry
The Thermal Insulation Contractors Association (TICA) is hoping to inspire more women to join the industry by highlighting the experience of former office cleaner Jenna Hunt.
The 35-year-old is currently a thermal insulation apprentice with Altrad, which has a long-term contract at the Prax Lindsey Oil Refinery, near Grimsby, North Lincolnshire.
Her TICA apprenticeship involves a combination of practical on-site work with Altrad as well as developing skills and best practice at TICA’s national training centre for block periods of two weeks as she works towards gaining the nationally recognised qualifications.
Having left school at 16, she ended up in a series of uninspiring office jobs before becoming a cleaner at Altrad’s refinery site office.
Jenna, from Immingham, said: “Thermal insulation and the wider construction industry wasn’t something I’d ever considered, but this apprenticeship offers a clear pathway to a fulfilling and well-paid career.
“It may be a male dominated industry, but I’ve not experienced any discrimination and there’s no task I haven’t been able to achieve because I’m a woman. I’d advise anyone, whatever their gender or background, to seriously consider it.”
Marion Marsland, Chief Executive of TICA, said the trade association is currently examining ways of encouraging more women to join the thermal insulation sector.
She said: “Women haven’t always seen construction as something for them because of a perception that it involves heavy manual work, which isn’t the case. “At the same time, they have traditionally been funnelled into occupations which further reinforce gender stereotypes, such as office work, cleaning, caring, beauty, teaching, and retail.
“We do have a few female apprentices, but I hope Jenna’s experience can encourage and inspire more women to break down those invisible barriers. By doing so they will gain well-qualified and well-paid jobs. “There is an abundance of skills women possess that this industry is failing to tap into while, at the same time, women are missing out on an abundance of good quality jobs – and it is TICA’s task to put the two together.”
Jenna added: “I’d always wanted to do something that was more fulfilling and the lads on the refinery site kept telling me to apply for an operator’s job, but then the thermal insulation apprenticeship came up and I decided to go for it. “I’m now learning to handle different insulation materials and to cut and shape them to fit pipework and ducting. I’ve always enjoyed crafting, and the skills required are similar!”
A spokesman for Altrad said: “Jenna conducts herself in a professional manner onsite, while her standard of work and enthusiasm is excellent. Nothing seems to faze her, and she is a proof that a woman can excel in a traditionally male-dominated industry like construction.”