You may think that it’s tough to juggle a career and raising a family, but Kim’s story shows that you can do both and enjoy a worthwhile career in construction. 

I love the variation in my role and being out and about – I wouldn’t like to be behind a desk.

Case study
Category Information
Based Wales
Employer D L Builders

What does your role involve?

I’m a carpenter but my job involves much more than just that. I work on buildings and extensions, housing, exteriors, interiors, roofs, fascia and guttering, and fitting kitchens and bathrooms.

I love the variation in my role and being out and about – I wouldn’t like to be behind a desk. 

I’d say that anyone is capable and not to doubt yourself, because it’ll be worthwhile in the end.

Kim Palfrey

Apprentice Carpenter

What do you like about your job?

I’m a people person and very interested in meeting people, especially some of the interesting characters that I come across in my work. I’m very sociable and enjoy being hands on with my work. 

What's your working day like?

I’ll meet the team on site, so will take my tools with me in my car. Every week is different and I’m mainly local around the Ammanford, Garnant, Brynamman and Llanelli area but I’ve also travelled quite far to work on projects across Wales, including Brecon.

The work I do is mainly on and in people’s homes. I get on well with people and feel that sometimes, as a female, I can be a comforting presence and able to interpret construction information to a customer who could be vulnerable. 

What skills do you need in your job?

Patience is a major skill, and also the ability to communicate well. I have to adapt quickly to situations and pick up new skills and take on information at speed as well. My willingness to keep on learning from those around me I’ve found to be a key skill also. 

How did you get into construction?

I’m 34 years old and have three children so I’ve focused on raising them in recent years. Before I had children I worked in retail, but alongside bringing up my children, I’ve experimented with upcycling pallets and creating pieces with wood. I then decided that it would be a good idea to go to college and now I’m really happy learning and working as a carpenter. 

Tell us about something you've been really of in your career?

Two years ago in 2015 I decided to enter into the Institute of Carpenters Competition. I entered in to the over 20’s age group, and I won the competition in Wales, coming first, and then came fourth in that age category in the UK. It was harder than I expected, but I was over the moon to do so well in the competition. 

Where do you see your career progressing and any advice for someone thinking about a career in construction?

In ten years, I’d like to be buying and selling houses, running my own business. In terms of advice, I’d say that anyone is capable.
Don’t doubt yourself as it’s worthwhile in the end, and if I can do it whilst raising three children, then anyone can.