“If we keep thinking these are men’s jobs, there’s never going to be a sector with women”

“If we keep thinking these are men’s jobs, there’s never going to be a sector with women”

Betania Lais Souza without previous knowledge about construction, decided to enroll in a course of “Collective Protection Operator” at the training centre of Fundación Laboral in Badalona. Now she is convinced to pursue her working future in the sector

At only 20 years of age, Betania Lais began her training in the construction sector. Without knowing the sector, this young Brazilian woman enrolled in a course of “Collective Protection Operator”, organized with the Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona as part of the PICE programme. Now Betania, who is about to finish her training in prevention of occupational risk and machinery, is looking for a job in a sector that has surprised her and wants to dedicate herself to something she really likes.

Question.- How did you discover Fundación Laboral course? Why did you enrol in it?

Answer.- It was a friend who told me about the course; he told me that Fundación Laboral made them. I searched on the Internet for something I was interested in and I found this one in particular and enrolled. I was informed about how the course worked, the syllabus, and I wrote down everything I needed to do it.

Q.- Why did you decide to be trained in this particular course?

A.- I signed up just to try, without knowing the course. Before doing this course I had no relation with the sector. I knew people who work in construction, but I didn’t know anyone who was specifically dedicated to something related to what we have seen in the course.

Q.- Why did you choose to train in a profession instead of another type of studies?

A.- In Brazil I studied in high school, but I was lacking a year to finish high school. In Spain I’ve been studying for a year and nine months and I can’t finish it here, because I’m already 20 years old. I don’t plan to go to university any more, but only take courses focused on professionalization.

Q.- What is your experience in the course?

A.- I feel good. I am learning and I work well, better than some colleagues. In addition to the internships, we’ve taken two or three exams and I’ve done very well; I’ve had high marks.

Q.- What subjects have you seen in the course?

A.- We have seen many things during the course. We have learned to put nets, to use the harness, the lifeline or to drive wheelbarrows. We are also making protections in viaducts, and I like it very much. We are in charge of putting the protections for the workers in these structures. It’s not difficult, because we learned in the course what to do and it’s something I like.

Q.- Which module do you find most interesting?

A.- I like everything, I’m learning from everything. I especially liked making knots, putting nets and driving the bull. I’ve also been interested in knowing and learning how to use the tools that normally exist at work, such as the drill or the screwdriver.

Q.- How was the first day you handled the machinery?

A.- Before starting the course I had never taken machinery or a car. The first day I didn’t want to, I was backing down. The teacher encouraged me, told me I could and then I tried. And everything went well for me, better than for some of my colleagues. I like machinery, it’s something interesting and I think it’s necessary to know everything. I’ve almost learned to drive a car, which I had no idea about.

Q.- Are there more girls in the course?

A.- No. I am the only girl in the course.

Q.- What was the reaction of your classmates when they saw you on the first day?

A.- They were very surprised. They asked me: “What are you doing here? I told them I was going to the course to learn. And at the moment, when we are finishing, I like the course very much.

Q.- How is the relationship with your classmates? And with your teachers?

A.- Very good, there is a great atmosphere. They are calm, they are not prejudiced by the fact that I am a woman and they accept that I work with them as one more. The relationship with the teachers is also very good, they have a lot of patience. They don’t need it especially with me, but with some boys they do. I’m very calm and I learn quickly.

Q.- How did you imagine the construction sector before starting the course? Does it fit in with the idea you had?

A.- I had no idea what I was going to find. When they gave us the course calendar, I could see a little things we were going to touch, but in a concrete way I didn’t know anything and I didn’t imagine it.

Q.- Did you ever hesitate to register for the course because you were a girl?

A.- No, not at all. I was very calm because I wanted to learn. That didn’t throw me back at any time. It’s true that before I enrolled, I didn’t know that it was a men’s sector either.

Q.- Do you see yourself working on something related to what you’re seeing?

A.- Not until I finish the course, but I intend to. I’m going to try to start working in a company related to what I’m doing, with collective protections. For me it’s the most interesting thing. I like to put life lines, nets, handrails… I have learned from everything, we have seen all the types of nets there are, and I like it. If it doesn’t work, I’ll try to find work as a machine driver or in a warehouse. But first I would like to do something related to the world of collective protections.

Q.- Are you thinking of continuing your training in the sector? Would you like to know other fields of construction?

A.- I’m thinking about it. I want to start working on this, and if I like the experience, I am interested in doing a vocational training cycle in collective protection. At the moment I’m loving it, I’m happy. But at the moment I’m not planning to do another course, I chose this one I’m doing to find a job.

Q.- What would you say to a young girl who is considering joining the construction sector?

A.- I would say: “Come woman, courage! I think it is not so difficult to enter this sector. If you have strength and willpower, you can. If you keep thinking that these are men’s jobs, there will never be a sector with women “.