This is exactly why Rebecca Banks, a 19-year-old crane operator, decided to leave school at 16 and join the family business.
“I had no idea what I wanted to do so I didn’t want to take the big step of going to university and then regretting it,” Rebecca explains. “My mum works in the office at Banks Engineering and Crane Hire and she needed help, so I decided to leave school and go work in the office until I figured out what I wanted to do.”
The company was started by her dad over 20 years ago. While it may seem a big jump from admin to cranes, Rebecca took it all in her stride. “We needed more qualified crane operators, so my dad asked if I wanted to sit my crane tickets and I just went for it.” Rebecca now operates a five-tonne crawler crane and a 20-tonne mobile crane and has her Dogman ticket and Class Two Load Pilot ticket.
What Rebecca loves most about the role is the variety, “It’s pretty challenging but every single job you go to is completely different.”
She also enjoys people’s reactions when she gets introduced as a crane operator, “There aren’t a lot of female crane operators, so it’s pretty out there and watching their mouths drop is pretty funny, it’s nice to surprise people.”
When asked why she didn’t think twice about getting her crane tickets Rebecca said, “When you go to uni, you’re not guaranteed to get a job afterwards. But, if you go into a trade, you’re pretty much guaranteed a job. In that sense, it’s way better than going to university, but it depends on what you want to do really.
“All my friends who went to uni have horrible debt, but in the next year or so I’ll be looking at purchasing my first home.”
Rebecca wants to continue working her way up the ranks and move on to the bigger 50 and 90-tonne cranes. She has some advice for women out there looking to enter trades:
“Construction companies I have spoken with have been very encouraging towards women getting into trades because they’re generally gentler with the machinery. If you’re a woman who wants to get into the industry, you could easily get a job because you’re being sought-after really.”