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A year in the trade – a woman’s perspective

Chelsea Davidson, a painter and decorator from High Wycombe made it through to the Screwfix Trade Apprentice Finals in 2023. Here are her impressions on her first year in the trade and her thoughts on workwear for woman.

Q: When did you decide you wanted to become a professional painter and decorator, and why?

“When covid hit I felt that I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life and didn’t feel enthusiastic about the role I was in at the time. I researched various career paths I could take and eventually decided on painting and decorating as it was always a passion of mine when I was younger. Any chance I got to repaint and take on DIY projects I would jump at the chance. I felt like a career in the trades was where I would be happiest and from there, I could delve into other avenues if I wanted to.”

Q: What do you feel is needed to make the trade more inclusive?

“This is always a difficult subject, and it shouldn’t be, ultimately, I think that is what needs to change! The negativity needs to stop, no matter who you see on site we should all support and assist each other where we can and be open minded that just because someone is different, it doesn’t mean they don’t belong. At the end of the day, everyone is showing up to work and then going home to their families. No one should be going home feeling diminished.”

Q: Does more need to be done to make workwear more inclusive for tradeswomen?

“I do think that in the three years I’ve been in the trade, there has been a lot of positive change, however there’s always room for improvement. That’s why I loved being a part of the Screwfix Pro Panel recently.  I was able to be a part of panel of other tradeswomen sharing some of the challenges I’d personally had in finding the right workwear and I also got to share my thoughts on some of Screwfix’s latest women’s workwear products from Site, which will help inform future product developments – it was so rewarding.”

QWhat are the key things you look for when buying workwear?

“The material, I want it to feel comfortable and look professional. I think when it comes to inclusivity with workwear, one thing that isn’t considered enough is the fit. A lot of brands don’t consider the female shape when tailoring workwear, so most trousers don’t sit very well, and it becomes really annoying throughout the workday. Finally, if its pink I’m not going to buy it! I like pink clothes, however personally, I’m not keen on workwear that plays into gender stereotypes.”

Q: What is your favourite item of workwear and why?

“Definitely my trousers from Screwfix. They fit great with or without a belt, they have a great selection of pockets to suit everyone, and they are very durable but still super comfy for a full day’s work.”

Q: What’s next for you – where would you like to be in 5 years’ time? 

“It is wild to think about how much I’m hoping to achieve in the next few years, I hope to be self-employed with a healthy client base, a great support network of decorators and other tradespeople. I hope to hone in on my skills and learning as much as I can to improve myself and my business.”

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