A Kildare Year 10 student has secured a building apprenticeship next year and she is determined to prove that women have a place in the construction industry.
Tilly Cook, 16, said she has been interested in the building industry from a young age.
“When I was younger my brothers wanted to be builders but as they grew up they lost interest,” she said.
“I never lost interest in building and I have always wanted to do a career where there aren’t many females.”
Tilly said entering a male-dominated industry has made her even more determined to give it a go.
“Some people have told me that I might not be able to do it because of the intense labour, but this just makes me more determined to give it a go and prove people wrong,” she said.
“It’s a hard industry for women to get into and it is going to take a lot of work and people might be afraid that it won’t work out.”
After securing work experience at Ladex Construction and loving it, Tilly returned for another week during the school holidays where she was offered an apprenticeship.
Kildare’s careers adviser Karen Murray said through her actions, she has been awarded with an apprenticeship.
“We needed to be strategic about where she did her work experience because it is a male-dominated industry and we wanted to make sure she was in an environment that was open to female builders,” Ms Murray said.
“When I went to visit Tilly on her first week, her supervisors said they were really impressed by her work ethic.
“Tilly’s decision to do another week during her school holidays showed her employer that she was keen and proactive, that she wasn’t going to sit around and expect something to happen.”
Tilly’s mum Kate Miller said she is “over-the-moon” with her daughter being offered an apprenticeship.
“She first mentioned she wanted to be a builder when she was about nine-years-old and at that stage I thought she would move onto something else,” Ms Miller said.
“But she never wavered and so when the opportunity came up this year for her to do work experience with Ladex, she went for a week and absolutely loved it.”
Tilly said she isn’t phased about which sort of building industry she ends up in, but hopes to one day travel overseas to disadvantaged countries and build homes for those less fortunate.