Break­ing stereo­types

Alpine Observer - - News -

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.”

PHOTO: Justin Jen­vey

PAS­SION­ATE AP­PREN­TICE: Kacey Lees is lov­ing the op­por­tu­nity to pur­sue a ca­reer as a builder with DTM Con­struc­tion Ser­vices.

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