“I couldn’t guess where my path would lead me, but I wanted to take a direction that wasn’t so typical for a woman”

“I couldn’t guess where my path would lead me, but I wanted to take a direction that wasn’t so typical for a woman”

Women Can Build: Jasmin’s apprenticeship as a wood and building preservationis.

At the Bildungszentren des Baugewerbes e. V., 14 young men recently passed their journeyman’s examination to become wood and building preservationists. They were trained by Jens Burggraf, master craftsman for wood and building protection at the BZB Krefeld. The work in this trade is varied and offers both men and women an interesting field of activity. However, only a few women have started an apprenticeship in the building trade so far. With the EU project Women Can Build, the BZB shows examples of young women in the construction world – this time of a committed wood and building preservationist. Jasmin Hein, a third-year apprentice, gives insights into a typical working day on the construction site.

In a beautiful residential area in Menden, the quiet summer holidays are being used for the renovation of a comprehensive school. Access to the construction site is somewhat hidden. The scaffolding cannot be seen from the street. Jasmin and the project construction manager from her training company, ISOTEC Fachbetrieb Barowski – Böttcher GmbH, are waiting for us in front of the entrance and take us into the building. The chairs and tables have already been cleared away, the floors covered with foil and the building materials are ready for their use. Jasmin leads us to an emptied classroom where a second wall is being raised to professionally eliminate thermal bridges. The second wall also provides additional sound insulation. Jasmin demonstrates the process of implementing the task. She evenly spreads the previously prepared thin-bed mortar on the insulation boards and attaches them one by one to the first wall until, piece by piece, a second closed wall is created.

“Women’s power” in wood and building protection

After finishing school, she decided to take a vocational baccalaureate in wood and building technology. The choice to do so was more of a coincidence: “I couldn’t guess where my path would lead me, but I wanted to take a direction that wasn’t so typical for a woman.” After graduating from high school, she began her apprenticeship as a wood and building preservationist and is now in her third year of training. “I feel I have arrived in my profession. Another apprenticeship was out of the question for me.” Her main tasks include applying layers of waterproofing and injecting masonry to waterproof the inside and outside of structural elements, plastering and filling walls, and drilling work. Even chiselling work is no obstacle for them: the removal of building materials that are no longer needed. These are removed manually or with the help of tools. “I am happy to take on all the work. There is no task that I dislike doing.” This positive attitude is also well received by the customers. They are happy that women are finally present on construction sites. “Women power” is the term that often comes up in this context.

“If you believe in yourself, you can do anything. Take heart!”

After her apprenticeship, she would like to continue in her profession and get her trainer’s certificate herself. “I want to work to encourage and support apprentices more. Companies should ask themselves what they can do for their apprentices to better involve them in the work processes.” She would also like to take over site management herself one day.

The professions in the construction industry offer a variety of activities and room for creativity. Different types of work at different construction sites allow tradeswomen* to be on the move and continuously improve their skills and abilities. “I can only assure other women that there are enough people who stand behind you and are proud of what you have achieved. If you believe in yourself, you can do anything. Take heart!”

In North Rhine-Westphalia, inter-company training in wood and building protection is only offered by the Bildungszentren des Baugewerbes e. V. (Building Industry Training Centres). The staff of the BZB are happy to support those interested in training with questions and the implementation of their career path.

Photo gallery of the Jasmin’s learning process.
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