Womens Engineering Society: Inspiring women as engineers, scientists and technical leaders

Role Models

Barbara Jones

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Barbara Jones

Awards: 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from Women in Construction

Biography

After starting her career in social work, Barbara decided to break the mould and train as a carpenter in the early 1980s. She founded the first ever all woman building collective and, after becoming one of the first two women to gain a City and Guilds qualification in carpentry in Yorkshire, set up her own women’s building and roofing company. In the mid 1990s, she became interested in the revival of the strawbale building method in the United States and won a travelling fellowship and scholarship which enabled her to learn more about it. She brought her skills back to the UK, developed them for the European climate and now designs and consults, as well as teaching others through her company’s range of courses. Barbara pioneers truly natural house designs that are affordable and use very little energy, challenging the construction industry to exceed government targets.

Barbara is expert at helping people become part of a group all working together to achieve a common aim. Each person’s experience and skills are valued and appreciated and everyone leaves richer for the experience.

Amazonails enabled ordinary people, young and old of all abilities or disabilities to get involved in building homes. It’s a rich and wonderfully inclusive experience when you join her and her team building one of the UK’s growing numbers of straw bale homes. Their building sites usually included a large number of volunteers. “By working with volunteers we are able to educate a much wider audience than if we operated a traditional contractor built site. Many volunteers come to work with us specifically to gain the skills and knowledge required to be able to build their own houses using environmentally friendly techniques and sustainable materials." says Barbara.

Barbara has also written the book: 'Building with Straw Bales: A Practical Guide for the UK and Ireland (2nd Revised edition)'

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