‘I wouldn’t go back to working for somebody else’ – young Norwich electrician branches out on her own

PUBLISHED: 08:08 21 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:53 21 February 2018

Electrician Chantelle Browne, 26, who has started her own business called Girl Power Electrical Services. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Electrician Chantelle Browne, 26, who has started her own business called Girl Power Electrical Services. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

A female electrician from Norwich is hoping to send shockwaves through the sector after branching out on her own.

Chantelle Browne, 26, qualified as an electrician in March 2017 and has since worked for two electrical services firms.

But she says an uncomfortable, male-dominated work environment led to her decision to set up her own firm, Girl Power Electrical Services, which she runs from her home in Thorpe St Andrew.

Miss Browne says she had “frustrating” experiences with her previous employers, which eventually pushed her into self-employment.

“Ideally I would have liked a year or six months to build up before I went out on my own,” she said. “I have friends who are electricians who can help me out, and they are helping me to learn.”

She added: “I do feel comfortable working with men, but you get more hassle with them than you would do on your own or with women.”

Despite a rocky start Miss Browne says her business, which serves customers across most of Norfolk, is ticking over.

While seeing male customers alone can make her nervous she does not regret her decision to go solo: “People say it is nice to see a girl doing the job. That has really helped my confidence,” she said.

“Work is starting to come in now and the response from the public has been great.

“It is scarier as you have to think for yourself and everything is on you, but I wouldn’t change it now. I wouldn’t go back to working for somebody else.”

Office for National Statistics data for April to June 2017 showed there were around 14,000 women working in electrical and electronic trades, 12,000 of whom worked as employees. The number of self-employed women was not high enough to register.

This compared to 459,000 men working in the trade, of whom 102,000 were self-employed.

However, separate figures show that the number of women training as electricians is on the increase.

These figures are representative of the gender balance across other building trades such as plumbing, carpentry and roofing, where an average of 2% of workers are female.

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