A scaffolder has set her sights high as she climbs the career ladder.
Claudia Ferguson has been working on the 105metre high pylon of the New Wear Crossing - one of a handful of woman scaffolders across the country and just two in the North East.
The 23-year-old was working at The Dolphin in Farringdon as she studied for an art and design degree when she got chatting to Darren Maratty, managing director of Interlink Scaffolding Ltd (ISL), and other members of the team.
Claudia, one of the firm’s all-Sunderland team working on the new £117million bridge, said: “I had never even thought about scaffolding as a career until then.
“I’m quite a girly girl and was focused on becoming a photographer, but I really enjoyed hearing about what they were doing and thought it sounded interesting.
“I asked how I could get into it, and they took me on.
When she said ‘no, as a scaffolder’, I had a think about it, but then thought ‘why not’?Darren Maratty
“They told me that hardly any girls worked as scaffolders but that there was no reason why I couldn’t be a success.
“In the beginning, I think some of the team thought I would only last two weeks, but I was determined to prove that I could do it.
“Two years on, I’m fully qualified and am still loving it.
“I’m constantly covered in bruises and I’m always dressed in my scruffs for work, but I couldn’t think of anything else I would rather be doing.
“I have always loved glitter, unicorns and the colour pink – I collect all of the Disney dolls – but I have learned that I can be a scaffolder and still be the girly girl that I am out of work.”
Darren said: “Claudia asked me if there were any jobs available within our company and at first I thought she meant in our office.
“When she said ‘no, as a scaffolder’, I had a think about it, but then thought ‘why not’?
“I think it was a bit daunting for Claudia at first, especially being the only female, but to her credit she has come through and is a big part of our team.
“When she first had to climb up the pylon on the New Wear Crossing, like anyone, I think she had a fear of the height, but she overcame that very quickly and is a great asset to ISL. “We are all proud of her.”
Claudia added: “I love working on the New Wear Crossing.
“I will always remember being involved in its construction.
“It’s had a huge impact on me.”