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A Broken Hill woman has made the switch from landscaping to her dream job in carpentry, taking up an apprenticeship with a local construction company and beginning her studies at TAFE NSW.
New research reveals women comprise only two per cent of workers in construction, and 25-year-old Paris Ralph said it was challenging to find a local builder who would take her on as an apprentice in the traditionally male-dominated field.
She embarked on a career in landscaping before being offered an opportunity to begin her carpentry apprenticeship with S&G Complete Renovations, enrolling in a Certificate III in Carpentry at TAFE NSW Broken Hill.
“In a small town especially, it’s probably assumed that apprenticeships will go to the boys, and that was definitely my experience,” said Paris.
“There is a bit of a myth that girls can’t do what boys can do and that job sites aren’t the place for women, but carpentry was my goal and I just needed to be given a chance.”
TAFE NSW provides women with pathways into a range of construction trades and already boasts a comparatively higher number of female enrolments in construction courses, at 9 per cent.
TAFE NSW Head Teacher Construction, Mark Penman, said there’s never been a better time to consider a career in building and construction, with the Certificate III in Carpentry a nationally accredited course and fully subsidised under JobTrainer.
“We do everything we can to encourage and support women in trades at TAFE NSW and Paris is a great example of the high standard of apprentice we’re training,” said Mr Penman.
“Increasing the number of women employed in the industry helps us respond to skills needs, especially in regional areas like Broken Hill.”
With demand surging thanks to the construction boom, Paris agrees now is the time for women to pick up a trade.
“I really love the boys I work with and it’s a great atmosphere working in carpentry where it’s new and different every day,” said Paris.
“My TAFE studies are giving me a strong understanding of why and how things work, in a way that makes sense when I’m on the job. I’m getting the qualifications and experience I need to realise my dream.”
To find out more about the range of building and construction courses at TAFE NSW visit tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.
Media contact: Amy Johnson, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org, 02 7921 0354.