Now more women are joining in

Release Date: 19 April 2018

Joinery has always been seen as a fairly male-dominated profession but, as Dundee and Angus College proves, that’s all changing . . .

Stephenie
Stephenie Barron

When 17-year-old Stephenie Barron from Auchenblae realised she had a passion for woodwork at school, joinery seemed like the obvious career choice. She enrolled at Dundee and Angus College’s Arbroath campus and hasn’t looked back since. 

“I’ve learned all sorts of things,” says Stephenie. “From using hand and power tools to the different joints you get plus drawing and employability skills.” 

As well as completing her course work making a door and window, fitting skirtings and facings, Stephenie also volunteered to work on a local community project, strapping and plaster boarding an internal wall and designing and building a bespoke outdoor storage shed for a local school. 

“I enjoyed these very much as they are permanent structures so the community and school children will all benefit,” says Stephenie. 

“I’ve also been able to make a second floor with stairs and a banister for a cage I already owned for my pet hedgehog. I even made a small house for inside too and I was really proud of how it turned out. 

“I’ve loved the work experience I have had so far and hope to get more with local employers.” 

Stephenie is keen to take steps towards her future career and hopes to become an apprentice then a fully qualified joiner.

Lecturer Steve Rennie says, “The input from Stephenie has been amazing and her practical ability and in-depth detail on theory research is very impressive. She pays great attention to detail and thoroughly researches all topics. 

“The NPA Joinery course is aimed at teaching male and female students the employability and joinery skills that local employers are looking for in a young person. The very best students are then encouraged, with help from myself, to seek local work experience. The feedback from employers can then be added to the students’ CVs to hopefully gain further work experience.

“This course is more theory-based than before with a big focus on health and safety employability. Any local company looking to offer work experience can contact me directly at s.rennie@dundeeandangus.ac.uk.”

But that isn’t the only way D&A College has supported women in joinery . . .

Pauline 1

For more than 20 years, Pauline Anderson has been a joiner at the college, working on everything from repairing doors to building shop interiors.

“Nobody ever encouraged me when I left school to become a joiner. In fact, one careers teacher told me, ‘You’ll never manage it’. Well, that was like a red rag to a bull for me!”

After completing a four-year apprenticeship at a local company in Dundee, Pauline joined the college’s Estate staff as one of the resident joiners and has never looked back.

“It’s such a great job if you enjoy using your hands and being creative. I like coming home from work and feeling that I’ve been really productive. My husband is a joiner too and we compete with each other to see who can do the best job repairing things at home!

“I would never put a girl off becoming a joiner as I love my job. I’m thrilled to see younger women joining the trade, but let’s not stop there - the more the merrier as far as I’m concerned.”