Kieran Nee talks to Natasha Clark-Withers, a tradeswoman who is embarking on a mission to promote female tradespeople through a new website www.gethertrade.com.
“It’s an online directory for tradeswomen.” Natasha Clark-Withers, creator of a new website www.gethertrade.com, explains, “so you can search by area, trade or rating. From that, if you want say an electrician in Manchester it will come up with the highest rated one and then drop down to the others.
“It’s aimed at tradeswomen and their customers, tradeswomen can advertise their services and it’s completely free for both them and the customers. But it’s only for tradeswomen.”
You may wonder why the UK needs a website solely for tradeswomen, and whether it matters what the gender of the tradesperson is that comes to decorate your living room. But whilst an ever greater part of tradespeople are Professional Builders and are nothing but a positive and professional presence in people’s homes, there is a small fraction of rogue tradespeople out there.
As Natasha’s research shows, there are elements of the population that have been put off by the bad apples and would feel safer to have a tradeswoman rather than a tradesman in the house.
“This idea has been in my head for a number of years now. I myself am a Gas Engineer, working until recently for British Gas, and now I focus solely on the website. It was from having customers constantly telling me that it was great to have a woman in the house to do work.
Many customers told me if they could find a female plumber, carpenter or whatever, they would definitely use them for every job. I did some research and there was nothing out there offering this service. I did a big survey and asked people if this service existed, would they use it? 80 per cent of the people asked came back and said yes.
“The customers are mostly females from early 20s to 40s who live on their own, also the elderly love the service. They and even their children would prefer if they had a female in the home to feel secure. Then again we’ve had great feedback from guys who have said if their wife was home alone they’d rather they used this service. Of course, some men just like it because it’s nicer to have a girl coming over!”
But it’s not just about meeting the demand that is clearly already there. Natasha is also passionate about getting more women into a trade in the first place.
We also have a bit where you can get information on how to become a tradeswoman, so if you’re looking to get into the industry, it will have links to courses and apprenticeships that are available. It will day-in-the-life style features as well.
“And, it’s a big thing that there’s a skills shortage at the moment, so it’s not just about promoting the tradeswomen that are available now, it’s about getting more women involved and helping to end that skill shortage.
“The site is nationwide, but predominantly in London, Manchester and Birmingham because that’s where most of the UK’s tradeswomen are. It’s free and everyone’s vetted and their accreditation checked. It will come up with photos of previous work they’ve done too. The consumer and the tradeswomen themselves can add photos. So it’s about changing the perception that us women don’t know what we’re talking about.”
Check it out at www.gethertrade.com