Wickes welcomes first female installation apprentices

Wickes has welcomed two female apprentices into its Installation Apprenticeship scheme.

Abby Watkinson and Rachael Folds started on March 8, which was International Women’s Day. The pair are said to have plans to break the ‘glass ceiling’ in the installation world.

Watkinson will be training as a fitted furniture installer. She said: “Many women are not typically seen in these roles, something I want to change.”

Wickes said that Wilkinson lives her life by the motto, “you should strive for what it is you want to do while you have the chance, because if you let an opportunity go by then it might not come round again and you will regret missing it”.

Folds is an apprentice carpenter and previously worked as a granite and marble mason. She also becomes the first female Intermac CNC Stone Machine programmer in the UK at just 21.

In December last year, Wickes launched its apprenticeship programme across the UK. The apprentices will learn from Wickes’s Approved Installer Network for around 80% of their time, while the other 20% will be formal classroom training by Nottingham-based WEBS Training.

Tony Brown, installations director, at Wickes, said: “We’re really proud to have Abby and Rachael joining the installer apprenticeship scheme, both from very different career backgrounds. We hope they are the first of many women to join the trade. Installation of kitchens is a very skilled job and we want to invest in people to help close any skills gap.

“There are many great careers to be had in this industry and opportunities for people in a sector that can be flexible around them or give them the opportunity to create a small business. I am really proud that we’re able to offer a unique programme like this that appeals to men and women. We know the industry needs more skilled tradespeople and we hope this is just the beginning of a very successful and long-running scheme.”

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