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In 2014 the percentage of tradeswomen in UK hit the giddy heights of 1.2% of all tradespeople; an all time high (figure from Labour Force Survey information from the ONS).
So what has caused the drop since 2014?
There is a massive 'skills gap' for all trades but the numbers of Apprenticeships don't seem to be meeting requirements from trainees enabling them to develop their skills and qualify nor the demand for reliable, skilled trades people from householders. This disproportionally affects women because the majority enter trades at age 27 and over; they don't fit the traditional Apprentice Profile and with homes and (often) families to support, they couldn't survive on Apprentice wages for two years even if they were offered Apprenticeships.
Women in skilled trades are in a Catch 22 situation because they aren't seen as a priority in the industry because of their low numbers but because there is no system to enable women to gain a foothold in the industry their numbers remain low.
Industry competitions and social media give a false impression of higher numbers and levels of support/encouragement than there actually are
"Many trades competitions for example now ensure women are seen to be competing, but the women rarely win because being able to compete should be prize enough for them".
In 2010 Stopcocks Women Plumbers stepped into this breach with their into business and mentoring scheme that came of age in Spring 2017 as a national franchise for female plumbers wanting to run their own businesses. Stopcocks report clear demand from householders around UK for skilled, reliable tradeswomen and would love to meet that demand by expanding into all trades.
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"We know we have a great system to help tradeswomen set up their own Stopcocks businesses, our gas engineer in St Albans/Herts joined in August and is already almost at capacity, another plumber is able to take her children abroad for the whole school holiday every summer, while another works flexibly so she can do the school run every day. We understand what support tradeswomen need to prosper quickly and we're flexible enough to provide it.
By establishing thriving Stopcocks businesses around the country we will be creating fertile ground for new tradeswomen and making it easier for them to enter the industry"
Since creating an online presence in 2006 Stopcocks Women Plumbers receive on average 1 call or email every week from women wanting help to become plumbers. The franchise was set up to meet this need combined with the requests from customers around the country for easy to find, skilled tradeswomen. Stopcocks, established in 1990 remain the 'go to' company for information about women in skilled trades and plumbing in particular because of their wealth of experience and expertise.
Stopcocks Women Plumbers are the only national franchise of skilled tradeswomen anywhere in the world (as far as we know, and since no one is disagreeing we assume this is correct).
Stopcocks see their mission as providing householders with the choice of a female plumber, or tradeswoman and also helping women into self-employment.
Stopcocks receive no support from CIPHE, BPEC, CITB or any other organisation but continue as the primary company advising, supporting and promoting self-employed women in plumbing nationally.
"We're a business like any other. We're the experts in the industry on the situation within it for women so we're frequently asked by print media, radio and TV for the low-down. Because there is so little support from the industry or anywhere else and we speak out on this we're seen as a campaigning organisation. Actually, we're just interested in running a successful business through helping other [great trades] women run successful businesses"
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"It's been my dream to help women into self employment through plumbing and all the years of hard work and many failings has made that dream a reality, I couldn't be more thrilled at our current growth" says Hattie Hasan founder of Stopcocks Women Plumbers and author of 'The Joy of Plumbing – a guide to living the life you really REALLY want! (available on Amazon)
Territories already represented include London, Weymouth, Rochdale/Oldham, West Yorkshire, Hertfordshire and very soon Devon.
This franchise opportunity is open to women in jobs as plumbers who want to become self-employed and represents the only one of its kind in the UK perhaps even the world. It aims to provide the very best support for those women in jobs who want to work for themselves. Stopcocks even mentor less experienced women plumbers to become highly competent and confident. Stopcocks plumbers are self-employed but not alone.
As well as training in running a successful plumbing business many of the headaches of self employment like marketing, advertising, phone answering, invoicing and chasing payments are brought in-house so that franchisees can get on with what they love… plumbing.
Stopcocks is accepting franchise applications from women plumbers; any who wish to express an interest should contact Mica through the website http://stopcocks.uk.
We believe Stopcocks Women Plumbers are the only national company of skilled tradeswomen in the world.
Actual figures are not collected in the industry, estimates are that women represent around 1% of all plumbers in UK and that there are 500 Female Gas Engineers. Two thirds of customers state they are 'happy' or 'more than happy' to use a tradeswomen, this is a great business opportunity.
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