This International Women’s Day, we are championing the women who have chosen to pursue careers in the electrical trade.

As part of this, our team recently spoke with Amy Lister, a qualified electrician and JTL’s National Apprentice of the Year 2023, to find out more about her journey towards her qualification and gather valuable advice for females who are considering an electrical career.

Amy, you made a significant career change at the age of 43, from food retail to becoming an electrician. What motivated you?

“After 20 years of working as a store manager in food retail, I wanted a new challenge. I saw electrical work as a hands-on and stable career option for me to personally develop in.

“I started with an evening course while still working full-time and the more I learned, the more I knew this was the right path for me. So, I decided to leave my previous job and fully commit my time towards becoming a qualified electrician.”

How did you navigate finding the right apprenticeship?

“I knew that I needed an employer that was open to training someone my age. I sent letters to 73 local electricians in total, and my current employer responded and offered me an initial chat.

“After we had spoken, I worked with my employer to research into next steps and together, we discovered JTL as the training provider. From there it was smooth sailing.”

How was your apprenticeship experience?

“It was incredibly rewarding! I learned so much about myself and my capabilities.

“The most surprising element was the diverse range of work available. I have now worked with security systems, alarms, domestic and commercial installations, even schools and hospitals, and I’m now incorporating renewable energy into my role, too.”

What advice would you give to someone considering an electrical apprenticeship, especially women who might feel hesitant?

“Firstly, I’d advise them to embrace the challenge. Starting fresh can be difficult but make sure you commit fully and soak up every learning opportunity provided.

“Secondly, I’d say to go in with an open mind. You might be surprised by the diversity in the classroom. When I started, I expected to be the only woman and only person my age, but I was pleasantly surprised by the mix of genders and ages.

“Don’t let stereotypes hold you back. Have a ‘can-do’ attitude and remember, you deserve to develop and succeed in this field as much as the next person!

“And finally, make sure you embrace any praise when it comes. I still knock on customers’ doors and they’ll say, ‘Oh, I wasn’t expecting to see a woman,’ and my success just goes towards helping to change people’s perceptions around those working in such a male-dominated industry.”

Four years can seem like a long qualification. What would you say to someone considering giving up?

“Even if you don’t see yourself in this profession long-term, completing a respected qualification, such as an electrical apprenticeship, opens doors to plenty of future opportunities.

“This is something that I reiterate to the apprentices I now help to train – you’re just investing in upskilling yourself either way, regardless of if it’s a profession you continue to do.”

Do you have any advice for those finding apprenticeship opportunities?

“JTL was fantastic throughout my journey. I highly recommend reaching out to them to explore opportunities with their partnered employers.

“Alternatively, consider building a relationship with a potential employer directly first and then approach JTL together. I found that this worked really well for me as it helped to ensure that both parties were the right fit for one another.”

Would you say that your gender positively impacted your work in any way?

“In certain situations, yes. For example, in hospitals I can access female wards and maternity areas, creating a more comfortable environment for patients and staff.

“I have also found that while I may not be as strong as some male electricians, my smaller size allows me to fit into tight spaces to complete tasks that they might not be able to.”

Finally, what do you enjoy most about being a qualified electrician?

“I really enjoy the job satisfaction and helping customers to achieve their goals if they want something installed that will make their life easier and we’re able to deliver that for them.”

Are you a female who is considering a career change or fancy kick-starting one in the electrical trade? JTL can help you begin your journey and put you in contact with your ideal employer. Explore our website to explore the range of current apprenticeship opportunities on offer.