Behind the Scenes - Lauren Sheedy
What's it really like to be a fly- in, fly- out female in the construction industry?
We’re talking with Lauren about her experience as a fly- in, fly- out worker in the construction industry, which is a traditionally male dominated environment.
Lauren. “It’s a different demographic to a lot of other workplaces in this industry, I work with guys that are mostly 45+ with families so everyone is really friendly and nice. People ask if I get cracked onto all the time, but that’s not the case. I don’t know if it’s just my experience, but I think it has a lot to do with being professional and responsible for yourself. I treat people with respect, and I expect the same back.”
Some people would say that women can’t do the job, what is your response to that?
“I do rigging, so I do struggle sometimes, but I just ask ‘ Can you please help me?' Because we’re doing a job for them, and they want that job done, they don’t mind helping. Most things aren’t hard to rig up, and we have lifting planes, so it doesn’t disadvantage me. Why would you want to do a job you know you can’t do? The generalisation isn’t right, plenty of women are big and strong, and plenty of guys aren’t. You know what your limitations are, so you wouldn’t apply for a job you couldn’t do."
Rachel. "There are procedures in place for helping get the job done, as well as legal requirements for things to be done in a way that meets health and safety, for all workers. For example, the machinery you have mentioned, or weight restrictions, such as those you find at an airport regarding luggage.
It will always be acceptable to ask for help at work. For instance, you may not know how to use Excel, and ask Sharon from IT to show you. It's not necessary that something like needing help with some things should hold us back. Obviously, if your job is solely lifting heavy things all day and you are tiny, regardless of gender, you should know your limitations as you say."
We can sometimes stand in our own way and listen too much to society’s ideas about our own limitations. What was your experience growing up?
"My mum didn’t have too much to say about my choice of industry, she was just pleased I had a job I wanted, I think her response was ‘ Fantastic, good on you!’. She didn’t directly influence my choice of career, but how she brought me up showed me I could do anything as she does everything, DIY, gardening, takes care of the house, works, everything, no gender specific roles. We are on the cusp of something, we’ve come a long way since the 1950’ s where a women’s role was to stay at home, and a man went out to work."