So on the 6th of October 2014 I joined the Select first Lifting Technician apprenticeship.
This was a huge step for me I had spent my previous working life working in sales, starting in mobile phones, to advertising eventually ending up in recruitment. Sales was something I started doing while I was at university and it was something I couldn’t shake off, I was pigeon holed nobody would offer me a job doing something else because I was just viewed as a sales person with no transferable skills! I tried for years to reinvent myself to no avail.
I never dreamed of being a crane operator or ever imagined I could do something like that. My apprenticeship provided me with so much support and training I felt like the luckiest person in the world, actually able to reboot her life into a better place. I learned so many skills things I never dreamed I could do, I finally made my parents proud and I was earning a decent income.
I’m going to throw back a post dedicated to each year of my 5 years these photos are from 6th October 2014 to 6th October 2015.
This year I went from college, to training in our yards to my first site at Tottenham Court Road Crossrail where I operated a lovely Liebherr LTR1060.
So I won’t pretend I knew much about Woman’s hour prior to receiving a phone call about it but did I want to appear on BBC radio with a group of legendary Women in construction…………….. Hell yeah!
When explaining to my Dad that I had been invited to the show he was really happy as when my Nana was alive she always listened to it, I guess this gave me even more of a boost to take part.
It was an bank holiday special dedicated to women in construction and I was privileged to take part with some fabulous women
Roma Agrawal MBE– Author of Built and a structural engineer who worked on the Shard.
Cristina Lanz-Azcarate – Chair, London South East NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction). Also an architect!
Hattie Hasan – Plumber and founder of Stopcocks Women Plumbers.
Sarah Fenton – Partnerships Director Midlands and North, CITB
Lynsey Davies – Plasterer from Wales who is now training to be a quantity surveyor
We were all interviewed by Tina Daheley who was fabulous and genuinely really engaged.
It was a brilliant thing to take part in and there was such a positive vibe from everyone – super inspirational! I don’t believe I have been in such a room discussing matters of women working in construction where the main vibe was just positivity , we all spoke about our journeys into the industry, what we would tell people wanting the join the industry and some genuine giggles about things we have overcome.
Recently I attended the Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce Annual report – Three years of progress event.
This was my third year on the board, I joined the board as a Crossrail apprentice when I worked at Tottenham Court Road and I have been a board member since. Our main objective is to get more apprentices into transport.
The event was hosted by the brilliant Mike Brown who sits also as the chair of STAT.
I was fortunate enough to chair a panel of 4 brilliant apprentices
Who spoke about their experience of apprenticeships and what changes we can make for all, it was very thought provoking for all in the room.
We were followed by the brilliant Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE who as well as many other things is the Lord – Lieutenant if Greater London, he shared some brilliant thoughts on apprenticeships and social justice.
A great event to celebrate the panels third year of progress towards more apprenticeships in transport.
So amazingly due to work I do in and around construction I managed to get nominated to attend the Queens Tea Party and somehow off the back of this nomination I made the final stages and received an invite!
Things like being invited to royal palaces are not usual for someone like me and I was very honored and excited about the whole thing, I must have spent the next two weeks googling what actually happens at an event like this and what is a ‘Tea Dress’ and a ‘Lounge suit’ which might seem blazingly obvious but when one is invited to the Queens house, one must dress appropriately.
As a bonus you are allowed to take a guest to the palace with you and I decided to take my Dad along as the whole thing would mean the most to him, my boyfriend didn’t even mind being sidelined for it.
The whole dress thing was bothering me as I felt I really had to dress like a proper lady for the day, which of course meant about 6 hours spent at Bluewater trying to find a dress, a fascinator, shoes, (My Eliza Doolittle moment) I am usually bumming around in a work T-shirt and leggings so stuff like this takes great effort!
A couple of months after receiving the invitation the day was finally here me and Dad dressed up smart, made our way into London and too Buckingham palace where we took a couple of photos outside and queued with lots of equally smart people to get inside.
Once through the huge but fast moving queue you move through the main gates through the front into a beautiful courtyard, through the other side of the courtyard up some stairs and through the building. The word beautiful isn’t descriptive enough, I would love to show some photos but unfortunately none are allowed to be taken inside.
Once you walk through the inside you are quickly ushered outside to where the tea party is and you are greeted with the greenest grass have ever seen! On the grass there are two bands at either end, when one stops playing it raises a flag and the other one starts.
There is a huge tent filled with all sorts of goodies, cakes, sandwiches, iced coffee, tea, coffee, juice, water an amazing spread and you can fill up with as much as your greedy chops will hold! I managed almost one of each thing to try and I was busting.
During the tea party you are allowed to roam the gardens freely and enjoy them, however at one point early on people start crowding and making a walk way, if you get invited to a tea party please move in early or else you wont see anything. Eventually through the huge walk way of people the royals make their way, the Queen unfortunately didn’t make the party but Prince Charles and Camilla did, they take their time speaking to the specially invited people who are dotted in the middle of the general public walkway and they do talk to a few people on the outskirts too.
They seemed to have good time for everyone and the walk really took a long time, once they reach they end they head into a diplomatic tent never to be seen again.
You can continue mooching around the gardens eating food and drinking or just accepting the bountiful free ice cream that seems to be wondering around until the event ends, I think you have around 3 hours to enjoy there.
All in all a brilliant once in a lifetime experience to share with my Dad, a great honor to be invited to share an amazing day with some many amazing people! What a way to be recognised!