In spite of COVID cancellations causing a lower turnout than expected, this month’s Women Installers Together (WIT) event was the best so far.
“The fantastic, positive atmosphere more than filled the room and everyone said what a great event it was,” says organiser from Stopcocks Women Plumbers, Mica May.
“The day was great. Despite having only chatted to a few of the attendees I got the feeling that they all enjoyed it.”
“There were certainly some good discussions going on during the round table sessions,” said event partner Monument Tools.
WIT is the only event of its kind; a whole, structured day, it features professional speakers – Hattie Hasan MBE as MC and ex fighter pilot Mandy Hickson as inspiration, speakers from the floor in the Five Minutes of Fame, and roundtable discussion of the issues of greatest concern to the delegates present. WIT gives tradeswomen a rare opportunity to meet and talk with their peers.
Tradeswomen travelled from as far as Scotland and South Cornwall to the venue in Holloway, London and met with others – employed, self-employed and trainees.
With women in skilled trades still only accounting for around 1% of all tradespeople, this event is the only opportunity for many to meet others who share their unique experiences.
Almost a quarter of all women (22%, according to a recent survey) would be interested in a career in skilled trades, but for a variety of reasons this is not translating into numbers in the industry, and attrition is often high.
Issues identified by the tradeswomen as significant in the roundtable discussions were equality, pay inequality, cost of training, ‘banter’, lack of fit for purpose women’s workwear, and lack of suitable provision for women on site (for example, toilets, sani-bins etc) with equality being by far the most important.
Throughout the event, the mood was extremely positive, from the talk by Hattie Hasan MBE on recognition of Imposter Syndrome as something we all experience, how it manifests and ways to manage it, to inspiration from Mandy Hickson, one of the first women fighter pilots to fly a fast jet in combat, who shared leadership lessons she learned from that and the stories shared from attendees, one of whom talked about how she gained so much from attending the event that it had helped her decide to stay in the industry!
Delegates and sponsors old and new have all been invited to continue feeding back to the organisers.
Finally, there was the ever popular raffle, with loads of fantastic prizes donated by partners, sponsors and supporters.
The event finished with the usual photo of participants and for many, a visit to the pub with new and old friends.
“This was our first full event since lockdown and to be in a room together, and feel the energy in the room, it was just great,” says Hattie Hasan MBE, Founder of Stopcocks Women Plumbers, Women Installers Together and Register of Tradeswomen CIC.
“We set ourselves very high goals with these events and this time we really feel we’ve achieved them. We can build on this momentum now, thanks to the fantastic support of our sponsors and allies.”