JTL backs workwear for women

Training provider JTL has formed a strategic alliance with a company that is seeking to make it simpler for women to work in the building services engineering sector, by designing workwear especially for women to wear during working hours.

Designer Annie Bowman and the five JTL apprentices.

JTL is working hard at attracting more young women to be electricians or heating and plumbing installers and sees the provision of well-fitting workwear that was not designed to fit a man, as a major step in the right direction.

Annie Bowman, a qualified painter and decorator from Sheffield who has worked across Europe has put her money into a self-funded business to develop a range of workwear especially for women. 

With the increasing numbers of women working in the building sector, particularly as painters and decorators, electricians and plumbers, Ms Bowman decided the time had come to try and change things for her fellow women workers: “Men might find ‘builders bums’ and gaping tee shirts acceptable, but women professionals see these in quite a different light, and I decided that there was a need to design working trousers and other garments that were specifically for women to wear.” 

Working closely with a production laboratory and a Portuguese manufacturer, Ms Bowman came up with a design for work trousers that had stretch where it was needed, a higher waist band and in a material that better responded to the needs of women than the standard workwear available from merchants and online in the UK. This was the starting point for Hoydens Workwear, Ms Bowman’s new company in Sheffield.

With a number of initiatives around the UK seeking to attract more women to male dominated professions, Ms Bowman contacted a few to see what they thought of the idea and the response was generally favourable. One response came from JTL, which provides more apprentices each year in the electrical and heating and plumbing sectors than any other company in the UK. It runs an Ambassadors scheme to try and attract more young women and more young people from the black, Asian and minority ethnic groups to the building services sector – areas of the UK population under represented in the apprenticeship world in these sectors.

JTL’s equality and diversity officer, Yasmin Damree-Ralph, said: “The problem with workwear for young women has been a subject we have discussed with our female apprentices regularly and it has always been a serious issue with our young women apprentices. Many end up wearing their own jeans to work because the workwear available simply does not fit them, but often these clothes are not robust enough to last long on the front line! Having workwear that makes you look as if you belong to the profession is part and parcel of feeling comfortable in your job and whilst there is no definite evidence to support it, we feel it’s possible that it’s this sense of feeling uncomfortable, or out of place in the workplace that discourages young women from considering a career in the electrical or heating and plumbing professions.”

Ms Damree-Ralph invited Ms Bowman to bring some of her garments to the new training centre in Ashford JTL opened earlier this year, and invited five of the company’s young female apprentices to try the new garments out.

The response was unanimous – the very best workwear trousers they had ever worn! For the first time, they had access to workwear trousers that were robust, would stand up to regular washing as required by their professions, but most importantly felt really comfortable to wear all day.

Ms Bowman said: “It was wonderful to see these girls genuinely chuffed with the new workwear we provided and to realise that there is a lot to be said about designing and producing a range of workwear for young women here in the UK. This is just the start and I plan to increase the range of clothes we produce and the range of colours and sizes we can supply, but this was a really important milestone in the development of Hoydens Workwear and the warmth and support from JTL and their apprentices was amazing.”

JTL plans to provide every young woman apprentice it recruits with a set of woman-special workwear from Hoydens.

Those companies interested in providing access to women-only workwear for their staff can take a closer look at

6 August 2018


Already Registered?
Sign In
Not Yet Registered?

Pentland Wholesale boosts business development team

Pentland Wholesale Limited has appointed Brendan Murphy as its distributor business development manager covering the South of England, working with and developing the Pentland Wholesale distributor partner network....


Free webinar: How to choose the right parameter for humidity control in HVAC

Many people working in the HVAC field know about relative humidity (RH) as a parameter used to gauge and control structures. Relative humidity, however, is not always the best option as a control parameter; at times there are other choices that will ...


247 Catering Supplies Introduces the BAKER range from Gram

The Gram BAKER range is perfect for bakery kitchens looking for large capacity combined with professional results.
ACR News is the number one magazine in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry. Don’t miss out, subscribe today!
Subcribe to ACR News


Refrigeration & A/C Equipment Sales Engineer – South East

Thermofrost Cryo is one of the UK’s leading distributors of refrigeration and air conditioning products, selling across the whole of the UK, with offices in London, Birmingham and Manchester....


Building Engineering Services Association Conference and Awards
IOR Scotland Annual Dinner
ASHRAE Winter Conference
IOR Annual Dinner 2019