“Doing a man’s job and earning the same money if not more as a man, to me, is Independence at its finest.”

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Chloe Grace Sales,

Welder, Alpha Manufacturing Ltd in Hixon – Staffordshire

Intro:   Alpha Manufacturing’s only current female welder has received widespread praise and recognition for her drive and determination to be successful in a predominately male orientated field.

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It gives me immense pleasure to share my journey into welding as a career.

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Initially, I used to be a community career and then started with a full time job for my nana who was very poor.  Unfortunately he passed away. After his death, I applied for another job. I started working in warehouse. During my tenure in warehouse, and I was always asked to do welding jobs, as it interested me. I was good at welding, so they offered me an apprenticeship. I gladly took up the opportunity in 2017 at age 21.

Thereafter, my career in welding started flourishing. I won STEM Apprentice of the Year from Stoke-on-Trent College in 2019, where I studied for my qualifications in MIG, TIG and sheet metal fabrication. This achievement was noticed by local press. Various articles in local press are featured, with more still to be published.

I am also an ambassador for Young Enterprise which involves into schools talks and other activities. Besides, I recently finished a 12 month evening aluminium TIG course at Stafford college. I also study at NSEGTA gaining more qualifications including CAD design. I have done many welding jobs from a CAT exhaust system, to high quality stainless steel TIG including hand rails and disabled facilities.

Currently, I am a full-time professional in a company – Alpha Manufacturing Ltd in Hixon. I joined the company in 2019.

At my current job, I have worked on a range of projects like cabinet doors, skips, arm chair supports, side panels, various brackets, etc. Have also worked on different projects within the food and drink industry, ie from heated trolleys to the tray boxes.

When I’m at work I always like to remind myself “Why I am There”. I have the god gifted strength to lift any object just as any man can do.  If anybody teaches me on how to work on any project, you can bet I put my 100% in!

I truly enjoy my job, and honestly think that many more females also will surely enjoy grafting at a job that is considered ‘male dominated’ if they knew more about it. Thus, to fulfill this requirement, I visit many local schools and colleges, to interact with especially girls. I haven’t worked with a single female yet and hope to change this scenario in coming time. Everybody told me not to do it. That’s why I go out to schools and tell other girls not to listen to their friends or people who want to put them off. They can do it. I did. And I love it. I never had anyone to look up to in a careers way, so I’d love to be able to help at least one person, to inspire someone not to give up and to follow their passion.

I’m now 25 years old and I have already started observing the result and changes. I am so pleased, more girls are applying for stem roles and more girls are applying for apprenticeships. It’s so important to be honest with these young people, so you can help advise the next possible generation of engineers, teachers, mechanics, and scientists etc the list is really endless. It can be a dirty job depending on what your doing, it can be physically demanding, but we girls are just as strong as men! And we can. There are obvious health and safety risks associated with welding due to the fumes, but under my mask and air fed, I’m just another welder, but the girl underneath is rooting for the rest of you!!

The only things stopping you, is you. We make choices every day that affect our future, so make the right ones. We all have to make mistakes to learn. I don’t think I have ever faced discrimination in my welding career. But yes, I did have some stupid comments made to me. Luckily I am quite ballsy, so the guys soon shut up!

In this world as it stands, you need thick skin and you need to stand on your own two feet – especially girls! I have so many plans for the future! I definitely want to do some more courses involving welding, and potentially own my own business one day! I would also love to open my own welding college and fund the apprenticeships for some families who are struggling. Everyone deserves a chance in life and money should not stop you. Doing a man’s job and earning the same money if not more as a man, to me, is Independence at its finest.

I have been a Welder for almost 3 years now, and I love my job because it’s different. I like doing my own thing and being in my own lane. I enjoy the variety of work and the feeling of satisfaction that I get when I’ve finished a job. It’s well paid too. I don’t have a problem with being a woman in a man’s environment. I feel like I’ve found the right career and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds.

 

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