Building a Construction Career

A mum-of-two from Salford is calling for more women to consider building a career with an apprenticeship, with her own experience of learning a trade set to drastically change her life.

After being expelled from school at age 16, Kim Harrison spent years struggling to hold down a permanent job, picking up a variety of low-paid roles and spending time in unemployment.

However, the City West Housing Trust customer is now pursuing a new career, after joining the Fresh Living construction training programme.

The scheme supports people who are unemployed or from challenging backgrounds to gain the skills and qualifications necessary to find work within the construction industry.

Kim, now 29, said: “I was a comedian at school and didn't focus on getting an education - this led me to being excluded and I left without any qualifications.

“I've always been in and out of work, but it was only after I had a job cleaning new homes on construction sites that I realised a career in construction would appeal to me. I really enjoyed working on the sites and I was intrigued by the wide variety of roles available.”

In October 2014, Kim was referred to City West’s Fresh Living programme by local charity the Big Life Group and set about completing a 22-week training programme - she has never looked back.

Kim said: “I was really nervous when I started the training but my confidence has soared. I’ve had a go at a variety of trades including plastering, plumbing and joinery, which I absolutely love.

“I really want to pursue a career as a female plumber, and I’ve had a great reception from the customers I’ve met during my training.”

In March 2015, Kim began an apprenticeship with ForWorks, helping to build or renovate homes across Salford, and will be guaranteed to secure a City West property after graduating from the scheme.