Rachel's practical approach to career construction

A 20 year-old job seeker from Walsall is making use of her practical side and in the process bucking the gender trend in the construction industry.

Rachel Letford at work
Rachel Letford who is learning practical skills including brickwork, plastering and plumbing

Rachel Letford has enrolled on Walsall Adult & Community College's Construction and Green Skills Academy which offers the chance to learn skills including brickwork, plastering and plumbing.

Eleven students are taking part in the 24-week programme for 18-24 year olds, but Rachel is not fazed about being the only girl.

She said: “It really isn't a big problem. The lads are great to get on with. From day one, we got on very quickly and my gender and the colour of my skin has never been an issue.

“We enjoy socialising after college and there's a real camaraderie developing among us."

Despite struggling to find a job having previously studied painting and decorating Rachel was not deterred by the prospect of further study.

"I've always been interested in construction and I'm not one for sitting at home,"

"My parents have supported me in whatever I've chosen to do. I guess I'm more of a practical person and I've always enjoyed putting my hand to decorating at home."

By completing the course Rachel and her peers will gain a Level One City & Guilds qualification and her prospects are bright.

John Rawlinson is one of Rachel's tutors at the Frank F Harrison Skills Centre where the course takes place.

He said: “"She's demonstrated she has a real flair for plastering and her assessments are of a high standard.

“Her attendance has been very good and she's a hard worker which are two key ingredients to succeed on this course.