Sunderland teenager carves out new career in quarry

Marsden Quarry tour and future plans.
Marsden Quarry tour and future plans.
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A WEARSIDE apprentice is digging out a career for herself in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

Until recently, a female face was rarely seen at the Owen Pugh-operated Marsden Quarry.

Marsden Quarry tour and future plans. General manager Andy Mountford

Marsden Quarry tour and future plans. General manager Andy Mountford

But that all changed when Rachel Hoggett, 19, of Herrington, Sunderland, and 20-year-old Nicola Foley, of South Shields, were taken on as permanent employees after completing their apprenticeships at the site.

Their arrival has already helped raise standards at the quarry.

Andy Mountford, general manager of Owen Pugh Aggregates, said: “That’s one thing we’ve noticed since we took the girls on – the lads have cleaned up their language!”

Rachel identified Owen Pugh Aggregates as somewhere she wanted to work at from an early age, and a year-long Business and Administration apprenticeship provided her with a route into a permanent role at the site’s weighbridge.

Marsden Quarry tour and future plans.

Marsden Quarry tour and future plans.

She is responsible for dealing with customer queries, inputting production and sales, working the weighbridge system to produce tickets for the drivers and directing wagons from the quarry then arranging their haulage.

“I thought that a job in the construction industry would be something I’d enjoy doing, and I know Marsden Quarry had been open for a long time and would be a good place to work,” said Rachel.

Both the new recruits are thriving in their new roles and are enjoying working in the construction sector and are having no problems adapting to the largely male-dominated environment.

Rachel added: “I enjoy always having something different to do each day, new challenges and finding ways to overcome them.

“The fact that there are more males in the workplace isn’t an issue at all, and I think more females should consider a career in the sector.”

The Owen Pugh Group employs 340 people across its seven divisions located at five sites across the region and including its head office in Dudley.

The company said it is committed to developing the skills of young people and regularly offers work placements and apprenticeship opportunities across the company’s divisions.

Andy Mountford added: “At Owen Pugh we’re passionate about helping all young people to discover more about the varied careers they could pursue in the construction and engineering and to building the skilled workforce of the future.

“Many young people are not given the opportunity to train and develop the skills to get their careers off the ground. However, we’ve found that apprenticeships are a great way of nurturing new talent and while addressing our recruitment needs.

“Both Nicola and Rachel showed great promise during their apprenticeship courses, and we’re delighted to have been able to take them on as permanent members of the Owen Pugh Aggregates team.”