Sponsored competitive snowboarder Jade McJannett has swapped big air and carving for carpentry, with an apprenticeship giving her the skills the booming South Coast construction industry requires for housing.
Jade says she’s loved her years of snowboarding internationally, which has been a mix of competition and pleasure, but has decided to take some time off to complete a carpentry apprenticeship at TAFE NSW.
Once qualified, the Mollymook resident plans to use her new skills to help pay for future travels.
“For me, this course is about stopping for four years to complete my apprenticeship, formalising some of the skills I already had, learning new ones, and giving me the freedom to get back into snowboarding and travel again,” she said.
“My TAFE NSW qualification and carpentry skills are something I can use around the world to renovate houses, build furniture, fix a fence or anything like that. These skills travel and are awesome to have,” she said.
She said she enjoys the challenge of fast-paced work in an industry with a growing demand for skilled workers.
“While I’m learning skills and techniques on the job site, there’s not always the time to cover the fine details. That’s where TAFE NSW has been amazing because I’m learning those skills in detail on campus. Then I can put those skills to work helping build someone’s dream home.”
Women make up less than three per cent of employees in construction, and while she’s the only woman in a team of builders working on bespoke homes for Mollymook-based, High Quality Finish Building, Jade said gender doesn’t factor into her day.
“I have been in a man’s world my whole life, I’m a bit of a tomboy doing labouring jobs, even snowboarding, so for me it’s normal. The team I work with is so accepting and never treats me differently. I’d suggest women considering a building career shouldn’t hesitate.”
Her boss, Ben Lovett agreed, saying Jade brings a different and welcome perspective to the job. “We’re stoked to have Jade on board as an apprentice. She’s mature and has her head screwed on right,” he said.
TAFE NSW Head Teacher John Quine said considering the combination of fee-free training and a rising demand for people to work in the construction sector, now is a good time to consider a trade career.
“We do everything we can to encourage and support women in trades at TAFE NSW and Jade is a great example of the high standard of apprentice we’re training,” Mr Quine said.
“Increasing the number of women employed in the industry helps us respond to skills needs, especially in high-demand regions like the South Coast.”
Media contact: Adam Wright, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0466 375 552.