Ingunn took the step from health work to plate work

Westcon Yards

Ingunn Frøland is a qualified health professional, but after 6.5 years in the healthcare system she wanted to change her career. More favorable working hours and a more agreeable personal economy were big factors for the retraining and the journey ahead. She decided to bet on a pretty heavily male-dominated industry and has never looked back.

In the autumn of 2021, at the age of 26, the path towards a huge career change began at Åkrehamn secondary school. During the pandemic, the school started a pilot project ‘TIP Adult Education’, where they gave adults the opportunity to retrain. This in shorter time than the traditional school run.

It was here Ingunn Frøland started her education as a plating worker.

- The career change happened quite quickly. I had a job with a lot of heavy work, unfavorable working hours and poor wages and eventually I felt that enough was enough. I looked around a bit for other opportunities and decided to give the industry a try, through TIP Adult Education. In April I quit my job and started retraining the following autumn.

The adult education at Åkrehamn VGS is well organized for working life with vocational preparation. Ingunn had heard about Westcon Yards beforehand and expressed a wish to the training office for an internship there.

- During school, I attended vocational training (YFF) as a sheet metal worker at Westcon Yards Karmsund, at my own request. I enjoyed it so much that I applied for an apprenticeship. To my great delight I got the internship and will start my two-year apprenticeship this autumn.

This summer, she works as a summer substitute worker at the same shipyard. This gives her a good advantage towards her apprenticeship.

- Having a summer job at Karmsund shipyard is very nice. Being able to come back after the end of my internship and that the former colleagues still remember me is very nice. I experience being met with respect and find the work very interesting and varied.

Being happy in the workplace is important, and Ingunn particularly points out her colleagues as an important contributor to her well-being at work.

- The colleagues at Karmsund shipyard are probably the biggest part of what makes the job great. They mean a lot for my well-being at work. At Westcon there are also a lot of varied work and new challenges, which I really enjoy.

The industry is a heavily male-dominated profession. According to figures from SSB’s (Norwegian Statistics’ Bureau) labor force survey for 2021, it appears that there are as many as 153,000 men working in industrial professions, compared to only 49,000 women.

However, the numbers now, more than ever, are pointing in the right direction; never have there been more female applicants in several of the industrial subjects. Ingunn thinks this is a good sign.

- Before I had my first day at work, I was bit nervous as there are no other girls on the "floor" at Karmsund shipyard, but it went beyond all expectations. Westcon Yards does not discriminate between men and women and the staff are very welcoming. We learn from each other, help and answer questions to the best of their ability. My experience of Westcon Yards Karmsund is exclusively positive. It really is a workplace I can recommend applying to - also for women.

She is not sure where the road will go next, but the plan is to stick to the industry. The first stop on the career ladder is passing the vocational certificate. - My goal for the future as of today is to pass a certificate as a sheet metal worker. I also wish to take more professional certificates within the company if this will be possible in the future.

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