Women welders join Ilkeston firm

Two young female apprentices have gained qualifications at an Ilkeston company that manufactures bespoke building products in a trade usually dominated by men.'Sonja Eyre and Rosie Dales started in autumn 2014 at Dales Fabrications and have just gained their NVQ Level two in welding and fabrication.
Two young female apprentices have gained qualifications at an Ilkeston company that manufactures bespoke building products in a trade usually dominated by men.'Sonja Eyre and Rosie Dales started in autumn 2014 at Dales Fabrications and have just gained their NVQ Level two in welding and fabrication.

Two young female apprentices have gained qualifications at an Ilkeston company that manufactures bespoke building products in a trade usually dominated by men.

Sonja Eyre and Rosie Dales started in autumn 2014 at Dales Fabrications and have just gained their NVQ Level two in welding and fabrication.

They were the only women on their course at Learning Unlimited on Derby’s Pride Park compared to 16 men and they are the first women to join Dales as apprentices from a non-engineering background.

Their success comes as the company which makes items such as rainwater systems(gutters and pipes), fascias and soffits, and solar shading for the construction industry comes to the end of a calendar year of investment in staff and equipment to deal with a record order book.

Rosie, 23, of Orchard Street, Ilkeston, worked as a chambermaid but did not enjoy it. Last year she worked two weeks without pay at the company, enjoyed it and became an apprentice.

She even left the family home at Southampton to move to the company at Crompton Road Industrial Estate which was founded by her grandfather Frank, who is chief executive officer.

The firm, set up in 1977, is wholly family-owned.

Rosie enjoys what she does and is continuing her studies one day a week.

Sonja, 22, of Barber Street, Eastwood, wanted to be in engineering from the age of 16. But initially she went into the beauty business and then worked for a catering company who let her tinker with the drinks and ice cream machines when they were broke.

She then worked at two branches of a coffee house in Derby as a barrista maestro before she wrote to Dales asking if she could be an apprentice.

Managing director Karl Prosser said: “Sonja and Rosie both took to welding very quickly.”