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Dale proves joinery is not just job for the boys

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Dale proves joinery is not just job for the boys

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Published by Craig Downs for Keepmoat in Housing and also in Communities

Dale Walton with Rob Hutchinson, Centre Manager and Stakeholder Engagement at the Technical Academy (left) and Paul Green, Site Manager from Keepmoat Dale Walton with Rob Hutchinson, Centre Manager and Stakeholder Engagement at the Technical Academy (left) and Paul Green, Site Manager from Keepmoat

A Hartlepool woman is proving she has what it takes to succeed in a career in what is traditionally a male-dominated industry.

Dale Walton from Hartlepool, is impressing company bosses after joining national housing and regeneration specialist, Keepmoat, on a voluntary work placement.

As part of her studies at East Durham College’s Technical Academy in Peterlee, 27 year-old Dale is working as a joiner, helping to fit new bathrooms, kitchens and other joinery and carpentry jobs as part of the work that Keepmoat is undertaking on behalf of housing provider, East Durham Homes.

The college contacted Keepmoat to find out if they would accommodate students to provide them with on-the-job skills and knowledge of working in a refurbishment and construction environment as part of their Level 2 Diploma in Fitted Interiors course.

The one year course, which is due to complete in June this year, provides students with knowledge and skills of fitting kitchens, bathrooms, carpentry and basic plumbing. 

Working for two days a week to coincide with her studies, Dale is really enjoying the experience.  She said: “I’m really benefitting from working on site and all the lads have made me feel very welcome.  I don’t feel singled out because I am female, we all work together and get the job done.

“My dad is retired and has a number of properties that he buys, refurbishes and then rents out and I eventually want to take over that so all the skills and experience I am learning on the job is proving really valuable.  I am very grateful to Keepmoat for giving me the opportunity.

“My course finishes this summer and although I am working voluntarily at the moment, I am hoping to either secure full time employment or start an apprenticeship somewhere.”

Keepmoat site manager, Paul Green, said: “Feedback from our joiners is that she’s doing well and is very enthusiastic to learn as much as possible in her time with us; she always reports in on time and delivers great quality work.”

“It’s refreshing to see someone so committed to learning a trade that they will work unpaid simply to gain experience. Dale is friendly and mixes well with the lads on site and is courteous and respectful towards all staff members.

Rob Hutchinson, Centre Manager and Stakeholder Engagement at the Technical Academy, believes that partnerships with companies of the calibre of Keepmoat and the quality of work experience they can offer students is vital to ensuring they leave college highly skilled and work-ready. He said: “Dale is a totally committed and a proactive student and is testimony that her skills match the needs of prospective employers.”

Keepmoat is currently working in partnership with East Durham Homes to carry out home improvements to its properties across the District.  Keepmoat is also providing free training including renewable energy skills, energy insulation, energy awareness, lone parents and training for employment to all East Durham Homes residents.

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