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Last September, Lara Trinidade Da Ferreira, began as an apprentice in the BECK workshop.  The BECK apprenticeship scheme has an annual intake of 5-6 apprentices a year, offering valuable, hands-on experience to young people who are able to learn from some of the most talented master craftspeople in the joinery industry.  In a fantastic milestone for the workshop, Lara is the first female apprentice to have joined the team.  To celebrate International Women’s Day, we speak to Lara about her journey into joinery and to find out how her apprenticeship is going.


What drew you to a career in joinery?

“Fixing things around the house when I was growing up was something that I always liked doing.   When I was at school, I went down the normal academic route, as girls are not usually encouraged to consider a career in the trades.  Everyone just talks about going to university. But as time went on, I realised that doing something hands-on was a much better fit for my personality.

“I worked for a landscaping company and then went on to do painting and decorating.  I enjoyed meeting people from lots of different trades and getting to see what they all did.  Seeing how carpenters and joiners worked really surprised and impressed me.  They seemed to be the trades having the most fun on sites.  I also liked the logical aspect of putting the pieces of joinery together.”


How have you found your first term at BECK?

“I go to college on Mondays where I am currently working towards a Level 3 Architectural Joinery Standard qualification and then I am in the BECK workshop for the rest of the week.  Before starting here, I did two years at college so I am now in the third year of my course and first year of my apprenticeship.  Godfrey is my mentor.  He is patient, experienced and has a contagious energy that makes the working day more fun.

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Can you explain how the apprenticeship works?

“I have a list of tasks from my college to complete during my apprenticeship.  Those tasks will help me master the skills I learned in the classroom.  I take photos of the work I am doing and send them to college to show that I am progressing down the list.  At college it’s mainly paperwork that I do.  Then at BECK, I do the hands-on stuff in the workshop.

“I have 15 jobs on the list to be done by the end of the year.  They need to be things I have made completely by myself.  Godfrey helps me with techniques and examples, but I then have to make the pieces on my own.


How did you feel about coming to work in a predominantly male environment.

“The misconceptions I had about working in a male dominated environment have been proven to be completely wrong.  My friends and family were concerned about banter, swearing and maybe the attitude towards a woman.  Not just specifically within joinery but in any heavily male dominated workplace.

But the guys here have been really nice.  Everyone is a lot more playful and energetic than I expected.  There is lots of joking and a nice atmosphere.   It is much more mindful and respectful than I anticipated.

All the joiners have been great, I have already learned so much from them.  Since I’m not fully trained there are things I can’t do alone yet.  Everyone has been very patient and very good at teaching me things as we go along, which I have really appreciated.

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know everyone over the last few months.”

What is your preferred learning style?

“I’m a kinaesthetic learner.  I don’t really learn until I do it myself.   When I have my hands on something, I can feel if I’m doing it the right way.  It’s muscle memory!  You are more likely to remember it when you do it.”


What are you looking forward to doing for the rest of the year?

“Steve (Director who runs the workshop) has talked about me getting some experience in the Setting Out Department.  They create all the drawings that we use to build our pieces.  I think it would be good for me to get a better understanding of how they are made so I will be more accurate when reading them.

I’d also like the opportunity to use the spray booth and try some special finishes on the joinery.”