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Shattering the glass ceiling

Going from receptionist to glazier isn't your typical career path. But then again, Joanna isn't your typical career woman.

Shattering the glass ceiling

Joanna already loved her job as receptionist at Broadway Aluminium and Joinery. So when the opportunity came up to buy the business, she decided it was too good a chance to ignore.

But Joanna's transition from receptionist to business owner was just the first step.

At the time, the main service of her newly acquired venture was installing ready-made products. But Joanna decided to take it one step further by having her company manufacture its own windows. So she enrolled in a glass and glazing course at TAFE NSW, where she learned to cut glass, manufacture windows, timber sides and security doors.

"Now we manufacture as well as install and I have a receptionist of my own," she says. "I feel more involved now that I'm a tradie, rather than sitting behind a desk and just selling a product. I love it. It's one of the best things I've done, doing hands-on work."

Being a woman in a largely male-dominated industry doesn't bother Joanna one bit. In fact, she draws inspiration from the fact that she's one of just 22 female glaziers in Australia.

"I did my training at the same level as the guys. I loved it. The only restriction was lifting things into place, but we have machines for that."

The other bonus to her chosen career path is that the glazing industry is predicted to experience a significant boom in growth. Glaziers and floor installers are listed among the skilled trades in growing demand according to the federal government's skilled occupations list. Glass has become an incredibly popular building material due to its versatility, affordability and the fact that it lets the light in.

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