AFTER hitting the crossroads of life a turn in an unconventional direction has led to one woman winning a national accolade.

Plumber Sharon Powers has been named tradeswoman of the year at the Women in Construction Awards.

But the 44-year-old who works for Golden Gates Housing Trust (GGHT) is taking the title in her stride despite her success.

“The company put me forward for the award without me knowing and I’m chuffed to bits at winning,” said Sharon. “For me I’m just doing the same job as everyone else.”

The mum-of-three found herself looking for work as her daughters were starting to grow up.

Sharon, of Phoenix Avenue, Dallam, added: “I was at a crossroads as my children were getting older and it was either retrain or work anywhere probably on the minimum wage.

“I always wanted to do something with my hands and wasn’t one for sitting in an office. It was joinery or plumbing.

“I have always done my own DIY and I thought about it for a while and one day decided stopping thinking and just do it.”

It was a choice of joinery or plumbing as Sharon looked to enrol on a course at Warrington Collegiate - and plumbing won.

“There is a niche for women in this industry,” said Sharon. “That was a driver because it could offer more security.

“I did worry at first about working in a male based industry but I had nothing to worry about. They are all good friends.”

And after starting off as a loft tank inspector at the housing trust when that role finished she was given the chance to take up plumbing full time with the company.

Now she works mostly on fixing up empty properties and is one of only two women out of 170 maintenance workers for the trust.

Angela Perry, director of property services at GGHT said: “We are so proud of Sharon for winning the award. It has given me great pleasure to see Sharon develop and achieve her ambitions and she is great asset to GGHT. She is an excellent worker and team player and this is the perfect reward for her hard work and determination.”