Astrid Arnold - Touchwood South WestFeatured Tradeswoman
I am Astrid Arnold of TouchWood South West. I have been working as a carpenter for 20 years now. I trained at ‘Women’s Education in Building’ in London as a site carpenter and joiner. Unfortunately this amazing all women college for building trades no longer exists, but I have been an advocate for women learning practical skills and working in the manual trades ever since.
In 2015 I set up my company called TouchWood South West. We are a female led not-for-profit carpentry and joinery company. Apart from providing bespoke carpentry services, we empower women by teaching carpentry and DIY skills and work with local primary schools to integrate practical skills into the curriculum.
I am very excited to be part of the Register of Tradeswomen, as it will help make tradeswomen more visible, address the imbalance in the manual trades and give clients a broader choice of who they would like to have work for them in their homes.
We also run a project called Women Build!. It’s a project for women, run by women, focused on improving mental well-being through carpentry and woodworking, opening pathways into employment or education for women who are unemployed or on probation.
My commitment to training doesn’t stop there. As a company we have a female carpentry apprentice through CITB (Construction Industry Training Board). Our apprentice Rowena is training on a Furniture Manufacture Standard Qualification, soon to qualify.
We have also been awarded funding from the Arts Council England and work with local primary schools on our project ‘Skills for Life’ teaching children practical craft skills. This improves their fine motor skills, creates a ‘can-do’ approach and furthers their stamina, perseverance and creative thinking.
Apart from that we solve problems for our clients by providing bespoke carpentry and joinery solutions. You can see examples of our work here: Bespoke Services.