Student joins campaign to paint a bright future for women in construction on International Women’s Day

Painting and decorating student, Courteney Hadala-Holmes has joined a group of other women in construction trades across Derbyshire to challenge gender stereotypes and encourage others to take a new look at what a career in construction can offer.  The campaign, started by Sue Ready from local painting and decorating company This Girl Can Paint, is designed to showcase the wonderful work women in the industry do on International Women’s Day and beyond.

Courteney Hadala-Holmes and Sue Ready from This Girl Can Paint

Courteney and Sue from This Girl Can Paint. Photo by Simon Bernacki

Creating a career in construction

Working with Sue, Courteney is carving a career in painting and decorating after spending years 12 working in retail. She started a Level 2 in painting and decorating at college in September and was keen to get as much practical experience as she could to boost her skills. When most practical lessons had to be put on hold at college during lockdown, Courteney decided to seek some work experience with This Girl Can Paint. She has been working every weekend with Sue on a range of domestic and commercial projects and has recently joined her on a full time basis, alongside continuing her studies at college.

Encouraging other women and girls to think about a career in construction trades, Courteney told us “I thought about taking this step for many years but always put off taking the leap of faith and just stuck to what I knew. If lockdown has taught me anything, it’s that life is far too short. Every morning you have two choices, continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them. For anyone who may be in the same position as myself I urge you to go for it, do what makes you happy, it’s never too late. The only thing worse than starting something and failing, is not starting at all.”

Challenging stereotypes

Sue explained to us that since she decided to set her company up, just before the global pandemic started, she has received a very warm welcome from the trade industry in Chesterfield and cannot thank her suppliers, customers and peers enough. Explaining why she wanted to start the campaign for International Women’s Day she said:

“This campaign is not to point the finger at men in the trades, as there are many who have been accepting and supportive of what I’m doing. It’s to inspire and encourage other women and girls who have a dream and a passion, to go chase it and turn it into reality. Don’t just accept what society says you can or can’t do as a job, a hobby or an interest, you can do anything you set your mind to, and if you get to work doing something you love, it will never feel like work again!”

Sue and Courteney in front of a wall mural of a woodland scene they installed for a client

Sue and Courteney with a wonderful woodland mural they installed for a client.

We asked Courteney and Sue to tell us more about their campaign and what they love about their job. Watch here >>

Inspired by Courteney? Take a look at the range of construction courses on offer here

Published by Lisa On 8th March 2021

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