Shortage of skilled workers: With a smartphone on the construction site: the crafts influencer

The work shoes fit, the belt holds the dusty trousers tightly around Sandra Hunke's narrow waist.

Shortage of skilled workers: With a smartphone on the construction site: the crafts influencer

The work shoes fit, the belt holds the dusty trousers tightly around Sandra Hunke's narrow waist. She is a plant mechanic for sanitary, heating and air-conditioning technology. But their normal work utensils not only include pliers and tin snips, but also smartphones and cameras.

Because the 30-year-old is one of the most successful influencers for crafts in Germany. Almost every day, she takes her around 120,000 followers on Instagram with her into her everyday life, which ranges from dusty construction sites in North Rhine-Westphalia to the catwalk in Hong Kong.

Skills shortage in many sectors

According to Hunke, they want to make the craft attractive for young people and show it transparently. The industry is currently lacking young talent, especially women. According to the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), the number of vacant training places in 2022 has now risen for the third year in a row and once again reached a high of 68,900.

According to the institute, the reasons are not only the "general attractiveness" of the vocational training but also the demographic development. Reference is made to the falling number of school leavers. In the past year, companies in the trades and construction industry in particular had problems finding young people, while applicants for commercial or media jobs were also unsuccessful.

Sandra Hunke grew up with the trade, her father works as a tiler. As a teenager, she often spent a long time in the bathroom, "and one day when I was doing my hair, I thought to myself: How cool would it be if you could build a bathroom like that". Social media started eleven years ago during my apprenticeship, "because I was always smiled at because a woman can't work in construction." She now wants to clear up the prejudices. "I can advertise crafts, but I can also show myself in a bikini."

"Tackle, but still be able to be a woman"

Today, the 30-year-old works not only on the construction site but also in her own workshop right next to her house, which she shared with her husband and renovated herself. Her parents wave from the garden next door, a tractor drives past - flashbulbs and chic evening galas remain out of everyday life for the influencer. "I want to show the women out there that they can lend a hand, craftswoman, but still be a woman. You can love pink, but you can still be taken seriously on the construction site." Hunke would also like to encourage parents to rethink.

Until 1994, it was still forbidden to work on construction sites due to the ban on women working in the main construction trades in Germany. Therefore, according to Handwerk-NRW Managing Director Hennecke, some professions are still dominated by male working environments. According to Hennecke, women are more likely to be found in occupations that are typically female, such as hairdressing, health care or as specialist salespeople.

Few women in crafts

According to a BIBB survey, 242,000 new training contracts were concluded with women in 2009; in 2021 there were only around 171,000. According to the vocational training report, the proportion of contracts concluded with women in skilled trades was only 18 percent.

In addition to Hunke, there are many other influencers who share their everyday craftsmanship on social media: Julia Schäfer, for example. She is a master bricklayer from Baden-Württemberg and has almost half a million followers on Instagram. Or Karolin Röhring from North Rhine-Westphalia, who shares her work as a metal worker on Instagram. "In my opinion, social media has gained enormous influence, especially in the area of ​​promoting young people," she explains. Because social media is the first point of contact for young people when they start to be interested in something, such as a job.

Proximity and quick contact speak for the medium. Hunke also confirms this. "The craft has to become more digital, many more companies have to dare to create an Instagram or TikTok account. It's work, but that's the only way we can reach young people," she says. "Such measures are most successful when authentic personalities convey their professions and the meaning associated with them - wittily, briefly, directly," explains Hennecke. Just like Sandra Hunke.