Starting her working life in retail after leaving school, Amy was never quite happy and would often say to herself, “I just want to be a tradie and do hands-on work!”
When her neighbour mentioned to her one day that he had a mate who was looking for construction labourers, Amy jumped at the opportunity. She soon confirmed to herself that hands-on work was her calling and also to her employer that she was more than capable! She was then offered an apprenticeship in bricklaying.
Flash forward a year later and Amy is still loving it! “The work is better than what I expected. Being hands on, learning a lot of things as well. A lot of things that I didn’t really think I would learn too. You don’t realise what goes into bricklaying, it’s pretty astounding actually!”
It isn’t without its challenges though. “The pressure for deadlines can get me flustered but that’s just how it is in construction. I do get pushed a lot to be the best that I can and I have high expectations of myself.
“There’s nothing really physically hard though, your body gets used to it pretty quickly and as you get fitter it is actually easier than you would think.”
Once she has completed her qualification, Amy has plans to enter the mining industry where she is likely to get high remuneration, but she is quite happy with what she is earning now even in her first year of her apprenticeship.
“The pay is good, even as a first year apprentice, better than retail! Plus, I will get more money the higher years I go in my apprenticeship.”
According to the Australian Government’s Workplace Gender Equality In Australia initiative, for full time workers, men on average earn approximately $264 per week more than women, and the national gender pay gap is 14.1%. With the current skills shortage, particularly in construction trades, it makes sense that more women entering these industries is not only good for women and their families, it is good for Australian industry and our economy.
BUSY At Work’s Program Manager for Women in Non Traditional Trades and the BUSY Sisters program, Tenille Reilly said, “We’re seeing a growing interest from young women who want to enter non-traditional roles for a variety of reasons including wanting to be outdoors more or having a preference for hands-on work, like Amy.
“Although a lot still needs to be done to break down some of the stereotypes women experience in the workplace, many employers are embracing gender diversity in their workplace as it assists with better team cultures. We also get feedback from business owners that their female apprentices have a better eye for detail or they are more reliable,” Tenille further stated.
Encouraging other women to consider entering a trade, Amy says, “I definitely would tell other women to have a go. I honestly overthought it more than I should have. You don’t realise, it’s not as bad as you think. Your body does get used to the physical side of things and the work does become easier after a while.
“The BUSY Sisters program is great. Just knowing there is other people in my situation doing the same things is comforting, it’s a network of women who can encourage each other.”
Find out more about BUSY Sisters and other support available through BUSY At Work for women in non-traditional trades.