With skilled tradespeople in short supply, more and more women are turning to the tools.
Chloe Morris has joined AHM Installations as their first on-the-job apprentice bathroom fitter.
“I was working in retail and I could see it was dying,” Chloe said. “I’ve always been hands on – I’ll always give DIY stuff a try – so I thought I’d go for it. Now I’m learning something new every day and I love it.”
After leaving retail, Chloe took a role at McDonald’s with flexible hours so that she could study for a Level 2 plumbing qualification while caring for her son.
“We couldn’t do work experience at college because of Covid, so after college I was looking for on-the-job training roles. I needed hours that would work for my son’s drop off and pick up. When I saw the adverts for AHM I was quite surprised.”
Chloe applied for an apprenticeship with AHM Installations, a family-run company that designs and fits mobility bathrooms.
“I love seeing the before and after photos of the bathrooms and how we make the customers so happy,” Chloe said.
“I’ve studied health and social care in the past and grew up wanting to go into the NHS, so the mobility side of things is familiar to me. I love seeing the difference we make to people’s lives. The way AHM deals with its customers is amazing.”
Chloe’s career change reflects a growing trend where women are taking on trade apprenticeships, at a time when tradespeople are in short supply. The number of women training to work in a trade has increased 366% in the last 5 years, with plumbing and heating the second most sought-after roles after painting and decorating. (Source: Go Compare Women in Trade Report, 2021)
For AHM, finding the right people for the job has become a challenge.
“The demand for safe, affordable bathing has increased significantly in the last few months and good fitters are in short supply. We know this is a challenge faced by many firms, and we’re doing our bit by training people from the very start of their career, like with Chloe,” said Charlie Symcox, director at AHM Installations.
“We select our people very carefully – we always have done – and we think that’s what sets us apart. We want to continue providing career opportunities that help our people fulfil their personal ambitions.”
“Good fitters are in short supply. We know this is a challenge faced by many firms.” Charlie Symcox, AHM Installations
Chloe’s trainer, Dan Newey, has been at the company for 6 years and recently took on the role of training new apprentice fitters.
“AHM has always been good to work for,” Dan said. “I’d say what’s helped me get ahead is that I’m finicky! I want everything to be done exactly as it should be and I don’t let things slide. Chloe is a good worker. She gets stuck in and works to the same standard as everyone else. I definitely think some customers feel more comfortable having a female fitter onsite.”
Chloe sees a bright future for herself as a bathroom fitter.
“I want to do well and progress within the company to get to where Dan is. I’d like to train other people in the future,” she said. “Also, women shouldn’t shy away from doing jobs like this. If we all get the job done to the same standard it really makes no difference.”