A NEW crop of female builders looking for a future in construction are getting vital experience across the Northern Rivers.
TAFE NSW appears to be ahead of the game and is helping to boost the number of females in the industry.
New research reveals women comprise only two per cent of workers in construction.
TAFE NSW provides women with pathways into a range of construction trades and already boasts a comparatively higher proportion of female enrolments in construction courses at nine per cent.
There are programs in place to increase this further, for example the NSW Government's Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program which includes targets for major infrastructure projects to double the number of women in trade-related work.
Northern Rivers students Grace Moss and Jasmin Phillips have secured their dream jobs as Carpenters and are urging others to consider a career in the industry with demand surging thanks to the construction boom.
Ms Phillips said she couldn't be happier to turn up to work every day and get her hands dirty.
"People don't seem to expect a female arriving at a job but with so many other women now working in the industry in the north coast area, I hope we'll be changing people's idea of what it means to be a tradie," she said.
"It's such a rewarding career, I knew I wanted to do physical work and didn't want to be in an office. TAFE NSW gave me the direction and the qualifications I need to realise my dream of becoming a Carpenter."
Kyogle local Grace Moss has always had an interest in the building industry with carpentry running in the family. After trying her hand at early childhood education, she decided to switch to the untraditional route and study carpentry.
"I'm so glad I made the switch. Every day is different and the variety of projects I get to work on makes each day really interesting," she said.
"My teachers at TAFE NSW are really supportive and encouraging and any nerves or hesitation I had about the industry disappeared."
TAFE NSW Carpentry teacher, David Harris, said the Certificate III in Carpentry is 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 Jasmine and Grace are examples of the high calibre of apprentices produced. Increasing the number of women employed in the industry can contribute significantly to overcoming persistent skill shortages," Mr Harris said.
To find out more about the range of building and construction courses at TAFE NSW visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.
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