Glam bricklayer, 22, fights sexist comments to prove it’s not just a ‘man’s job’

A "girly girl" brick layer is keen to debunk the myth that the laborious job is only for men, whilst still looking glam at the weekends.

Nicole Carlin, from Glasgow, claims she has had to fight back against 'sexist' comments and assumptions that she must be a 'tomboy' ever since starting her apprenticeship as a bricky in 2017.

The 22-year-old says the close-minded comments range from strangers branding her the "downfall of the industry" to asking Nicole why she isn't "fetching the tea," usually from the older generation.

The young builder said she loves to prove wrong those who assume she can't be "girly" because of her job, swapping work's high-vis and hard hat for hair and nail appointments in her downtime.

Nicole said: "I tend to find it's the older generation who take more issue with me being a female bricklayer.

"They have older traditional ways as they're used to things being a certain way – females were never seen on sites before.

"They can get a bit sexist. You'll get comments, sometimes you'll hear stuff like 'why aren't you getting the tea?'"

Nicole said that once someone commented that she was in a "man's role" and construction was "falling to the ground" if she was the new type of bricklayer coming in.

She added: "I surprised myself at that moment. I'm not as sensitive as I thought as I replied, 'Well if you're uncomfortable or threatened because females are entering the roles maybe that problem lies with you. Maybe you're scared a girl could do it better'.

"When people find out I'm a bricklayer, they do make assumptions. Usually, they'll think about how heavy something is and whether I'd be able to lift it.

"People definitely assume that I'm a tomboy because I work in construction.

"I'm still girly but you can't really show that at work. Outside work, I like doing my hair, my makeup, my eyelashes and stuff."

While she has had to deal with her share of nay-sayers, Nicole has also encountered a great deal of support particularly from other women in her line of work.

The support and encouragement from women around her has made Nicole more determined than ever to inspire other girls to go into the industry.

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Nicole said: "My main goal is to breakdown some myths that it is just a man's job and I'd like girls to know that this is a great career choice to definitely think about."

She said that at her company there are four other females, one joiner and three painters. There are a lot more girls who are applying to get into construction jobs, she added.

"I feel lucky as the sexism hasn't affected me in any major way but that's probably down to the support system I have around me," Nicole added.

Nicole's interest in construction started in her teens when her friends from other schools started taking up woodwork for their GCSEs.

She went on to complete a college course in construction and is now nearing the end of a three-year apprenticeship with an additional Advance Craft award.

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