FROM hard hat to beauty queen's crown - meet the Miss York & District entrant who is trying to defy the beauty contest stereotype.

Olivia Bradley, from Brayton, near Selby, isn’t a hairdresser or beautician; she’s a joiner, who wants to encourage other young women to consider entering similar careers.

The 20-year-old said she hoped taking part in this year's York beauty contest would send out a message that working in the construction industry did not rule out glamour. "People don't have to be beauticians or work with children to enter," she said.

Olivia revealed that she had fancied being a joiner since she was a child, when she used to help out her stepdad, Mick Elcock, who was a joiner and handyman.

At 16, she went to Selby College, where she was the only female on a level one joinery and carpentry diploma course.

She then got an apprenticeship with York building contractor F Parkinson, dividing her time between working on building projects as far away as Stockton-on-Tees and Harrogate - including installing skirting boards, hanging doors, putting up stud walls and boxing pipes - and getting her level 2 and 3 NVQs in site joinery.

She said she had had to withstand quite a lot of sexism on building sites. "You have to have quite a thick skin," she said.

In January, she was made redundant and she has since been back to Selby College on Thursdays on a voluntary basis as a trainee joinery tutor, with the hope one day of becoming a full-time tutor, giving her the chance to encourage more girls to enter such a career.

The Miss York & District final takes place at the Hilton on Saturday May 3, with the winner automatically going through to the Miss England final, to be held between June 14 and 16 in Torbay.

Anyone still wanting to enter should call organiser Diane Yalezo on 07864 028302 or email her at by no later than next Wednesday.