Woman looking to succeed in male-dominated construction industry, thanks to BCTG

A Birmingham woman has revealed her passion for bricklaying after starting a course with a top Midlands training group.

Ruksaar Altaf said she had stepped outside her “comfort zone” by enrolling on BCTG’s post-19 Bricklaying course at its Construction Skills Centre at Kelvin Way Trading Estate, West Bromwich.

But the 26-year-old from Longbridge, who left behind an office-based career to take on the OCN level 2 course, said she was now looking forward to working in the construction industry.

Ms Altaf said she learnt about the bricklaying course from her support worker at Birmingham Children’s Trust after being brought up in a children’s home.

She said: “I was really anxious to start with because it’s a male dominated industry, isn’t it? But everyone is lovely and we get along really well. They don’t see me as a woman, they just see me as another trainee on the course.”

Ms Altaf, who obtained a social sciences degree from the University of Warwick, added: “The course is really good. And it’s something out of my comfort zone because, until then, I have been at uni and working in offices.

“There aren’t many females in the construction industry and I know we can excel so I thought let’s give it a try.”

Her previous jobs after graduating from university were as a receptionist and an office manager, but she lost the manager’s role last year due to the coronavirus lockdown.

She added: “I then became a warehouse operative with Amazon, but when we went into a second lockdown last December the opportunity came about to do this bricklaying course.

“I was actually doing a beauty training course at the time, but my support worker, who forwards me work opportunities, told me about the bricklaying.”

Ms Altaf says she hopes to qualify in August when she then plans to go on a level 3 course followed by a BTEC construction management course.

“I am hoping for a job in the construction industry, which is something I never imagined when I was at uni or working in offices. But I am really enjoying it.”

Russell Simms, BCTG’s centre manager at the Construction Skills Centre, said: “It’s a real pleasure to welcome Ruksaar onto the bricklaying course, where she’s showing a real aptitude to the job.

“I’m sure she’ll succeed in her aspirations to work in the construction industry, and she is just one of the great examples of people from diverse backgrounds on our courses.”

Lisa Kelly, business development manager at BCTG, added that the Construction Skills Centre was currently working with both Wilmott Dixon and St Modwen, who are offering work experience placements for projects in Birmingham and Digbeth.

Anyone interested in a course at the Construction Skills Centre can find out more by calling 0121 544 6455 and select option 1, or there are more details on the BCTG website at www.bctg.org.uk.

Ends (479 words)

For further information, please contact:

Lisa Kelly, TAW Agency & BCTG Business Development Team Manager

T: 0121 544 6455 Option 1

E: lisa.kelly@theapprenticeshipworks.com

Note to editors:

BCTG Group is a West Midlands-based training organisation which supports almost 10,000 young people and adults each year.

The group has ten sites in Birmingham, the Black Country, Staffordshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme, and includes PTP Training, trading as Performance Through People, BCTG Ltd, Eurosource Solutions, Further Training and The Apprenticeship Works.

The group offers 166 different types of apprenticeship, 84 different adult upskilling and reskilling courses and 27 pre-apprenticeship programmes for 16 to 18-year-olds. These include everything from healthcare and early years care to construction, engineering, manufacturing and logistics, through to business skills in IT, management and team leading.