Gillian breaks down traditonal male roles at Ely firm

11:44 11 March 2014

Local woman breaks down gender barriers in skilled trade industry. Gillian Calver.

Local woman breaks down gender barriers in skilled trade industry. Gillian Calver.

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An Ely woman is encouraging females to tackle gender battles by sharing her story as part of International Women’s Day.

Local woman breaks down gender barriers in skilled trade industry. Gillian along with one of her and her team when they recently supported National Nest Box Week.Local woman breaks down gender barriers in skilled trade industry. Gillian along with one of her and her team when they recently supported National Nest Box Week.

Gillian Calver is breaking down barriers in the skilled trade industry and is a prime example of how women can be successful within a traditionally male dominated field.

Enrolling herself on courses and spending hours getting experience, Gillian worked her way up the career ladder to her position of trade supervisor at national property maintenance company, Sanctuary Maintenance.

She has faced challenges along the way but now overseas ten operatives and several projects as well as contract management.

Gillian said: “I started working in maintenance 11 years ago as a works planner for a housing association.”

It was here she discovered an interest in maintenance and became keen to develop a more technical role.

“I love the whole technical aspect of buildings and how it all fits together. I have a mechanical mind and I like to know how everything works,” she said.

After initial difficulties of finding a place to begin she approached a male manager, to be told that it would not be possible to progress without years of experience in a trade background.

“From that moment I vowed to prove him wrong and go for the goals I desired,” she said.

Gillian signed up to an evening plumbing class and Open University courses in estimating and surveying. Not shy of getting her hands dirty, she also built up a portfolio of hands on experience in every trade.

“A year on I now get comments saying they prefer having a female manager and that they are impressed with my knowledge and how I work.

“I would encourage any female to enter the industry; I wish I had the opportunity when I was a teenager to get into the trade,” she said.

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