Stefanie Menner: "We all puff and pant the same!"

The new generation of highly qualified women in the skilled trades

While hairdressing remains the undisputed number one among the top occupations for women, there are many sectors in which the skilled trades are becoming increasingly female. Young women are also opting for occupations such as motor vehicle mechatronics technician, painter and varnisher or chimney sweep. Stefanie Menner, who opted for training as painter and varnisher following her higher-level school leaving certificate is a good example of all the successful women in the skills trades.

Just over 8 years ago - in January 2012 - Stefanie Menner was "Trainee of the month" at the Cottbus Chamber of Crafts and Trades (HWK). With a very good grade point average in her higher-level school leaving certificate, back then the young woman opted for training in the skilled trades and even managed to reduce this by six months. She has now also completed training as a master craftswoman as well as a distance learning course in interior architecture and interior design.

"I knew it was good to carry on learning straight after the training. Once you have a family, you've got your hands full. The master craftsman school provided me with important background knowledge. I view the working routines differently, am able to think more commercially and understand from cost accounting the costs incurred by the employer as a result of delay."

Besides the occupation, Stefanie Menner now also has her own family to care for. "My son is now four and a half years old. I start work early at 6:30 am but can then leave earlier and spend time with my family. I'm very proud of the flexibility offered to me in this company."

The 30-year-old, together with another colleague, is currently refurbishing 20 flats for university students. The tasks involved in this major construction site include plastering, wallpapering, flooring and all of the painting.

She doesn't regard herself as any different to her male colleagues. "We all puff and pant the same when we're carrying buckets of paint and bags of plaster up to the fifth floor," she says with a smile. "But, of course, I feel it in my arms when I've spent the whole day sanding walls smooth."

However, Stefanie is mostly responsible for private customers. "Management suits me. I always need to be active and will always return to take up this profession. I love the daily before and after comparisons. I just love seeing what I've achieved with my hands," says the master craftswoman in painting and varnishing.

Source: (website of the chamber of crafts in Cottbus), revised by iMOVE, July 2020