As part of the 8th March International Women's Day, we want to highlight the women working at all levels at AluK. Meet Jane, she is our Product Support Technician. We've prepared an interview where she shares her experience in this industry as a woman.
Can you share a little bit about yourself and your work at AluK?
Initially started working for AluK as a CAD technician (2016); then moved on to assist the smooth transition, of warehouse, production line and offices, to the new location with improved facilities, at Chepstow.
Once the move was complete became part of the Technical Services Team providing support to both customers and departments within the business.
What influenced you to pursue a career in the aluminium/building industry?
My family was in the structural steel industry so was exposed to the building industry and how things were manufactured at a young age. When I went to a career convention in secondary school, aged 12, I and met with an architect, who fired my imagination.
What do you like most about your job?
The people I work with, building a rapport with regular customers and helping other departments.
What is your biggest accomplishment in your career so far?
Seeing things that started life on a piece of paper coming to life and people using spaces and products that have been created by AluK.
How do you balance career & family?
I agreed with AluK to start late and stay late to accommodate taking children to school. I depend a lot of parents who live close by. I don't currently feel it's “well balanced”.
Aluminium is a field mainly dominated by men. Have you faced any obstacles in your career which you believe were due to be a woman? If so, how did you overcome this?
At school, lesson and exam timetable did not make it easy/possible to go this route. Sometimes on the phone customers double-take question if I am “Technical”? – They are not used to hear a woman’s voice; I feel they think I am “the secretary”.
I believe I have been declined certain jobs positions because I am a woman. You have to be one step ahead to gain respect.
In your opinions, what challenges women face in the aluminium/building industry?
Facilities on sites, PPE made for males and some males have stereotypical attitudes.
What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the aluminium/building industry?
Contractors, the majority of which are men, go the extra mile to keep a woman happy.
Sites are, less confrontational and polite when a woman is present.
What woman has influenced you most in your life and/or career?
The female school teacher I had from the age of 10 -12; A strong positive lady who pushed me to my limits, gave me confidence and brought out my passions.
What advice would you give to a woman looking to start her career in the aluminium/building industry?
Don’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty.
What do you think companies like AluK can do to encourage more women to choose careers in the aluminium/building industry?
Create more diverse teams and departments and get more involvement in primary schools, being more visible in the community and offering work experience, training and apprenticeship opportunities.