BY TATE SPITERI
FEMALES are making their mark in the local trade industry with Ovens’ Kacey Lees and Myrtleford’s Celestine Ellen both first year building apprentices in Bright.
Ms Lees, 26, said she has always loved building and after moving to the area with her family this year decided she was ready “to do something she loved, instead of a normal job”.
“I called up a whole bunch of builders and after about 60 calls I finally got somebody who would take me on,” she said.
Ms Lees was given a two week trial with DTM Construction Services but was very quickly signed up to a permanent role.
“I’m finding it really good; I am learning heaps and everyone is really accepting,” she said.
“Obviously as an apprentice you have to do all the small boring jobs first but I don’t mind it, a jobs a job.”
Before starting her building apprenticeship Ms Lees had worked tirelessly renovating her parents’ Melbourne home and while she said the stigma around females in the industry was still prevalent she feels like things are changing.
GOTAFE’s carpentry trainer and assessor Warren Kane agreed that females in the industry were becoming more common.
There are now four girls in his 65-person carpentry class, where there’s only been “one here or there” in the past.
“It seems a few more are taking it up as an option these days, I think it’s not quite as much of a male dominated thing as it used to be,” Mr Kane said.
“I know there are lots of females doing design, drafting and project management and all the kind of stuff at university where it is really quite common but the trade end of it not so much because of the physical side of the job.”
Mr Kane said a number of the girls in the class were using carpentry as a starting point towards entering the building design field.
“Girls are probably fussier than the guys, concentrating on the finer details of things, they always do a good job of things,” he added.
“They probably feel they are competing a little or being judged, whether they are or aren’t they probably feel that pressure and want to do a good job for that reason.
“The employers we have that have female apprentices are all very happy with them.”
PASSIONATE APPRENTICE: Kacey Lees is loving the opportunity to pursue a career as a builder with DTM Construction Services.