Colleges are reporting a sudden upsurge in the amount of female students signing up to learn a skilled trade within the construction industry.

Far more women are now choosing to train as an electrician, decorator’, mechanic or builder, rejecting the more traditionally “female” roles of hairdresser, childminder, or beautician.

With recent news of tuition fee hikes and reports of the difficulties graduates are facing in the current job market, students may feel learning a skilled trade will benefit them in the long run and allow for better career opportunities.

However, some academics have expressed concerns over the availability of jobs for women in such a predominantly male environment.

Linda Clarke, professor of European industrial relations at Westminster University said,”If you go into colleges, there’s a far higher proportion of women training than you’ll find actually working in the labor market,” she says. “And I don’t see that’s changing very much.”

However at Newcastle College, Colin Stott, director of the National Construction Academy, says that in his experience, companies are more interested in someone’s competencies than their gender.

Andy Dawson, assistant director of manufacturing and technology at Preston College confirms this, he said “Particularly in motor vehicle, females are as good if not better. And their work ethic is often very good. They seem to be more rational about doing the tasks and, particularly in the 16-18 age range, a bit more mature. They’re more methodical and are very keen.”