Carpenter trade 'tough for women'

A Dubbo woman who plied her trade as a carpenter during the 1970s and 80s said it could be tough for women to break into male dominated industries, but said there was absolutely no reason why it couldn't be done.

Trudy Hanson said she was disappointed to see that HSC graduate Corie Hazell has been unable to secure an apprenticeship but advised the 19-year-old to keep trying.

Ms Hanson, who was in partnership with her husband Robert, said her own experiences in building had been mostly positive.

However, she said there was scepticism from some sections of the trade.

"It's a very male-orientated industry, there is no doubt about that. It was that way back then and it doesn't seem like it's changed," she said.

"My daughter worked in the industry as well. She drove a bobcat and helped with concrete pours. There was opposition."

The longer Ms Hanson was in the industry, the more she said she was accepted.

"The business name was RP and PA Hanson. My husband is Robert Paul and I am Prudence Anne. He would do the out-of-town work and I would work in town," she said.

"We would get people ring up and ask to talk to RP so I'd say he was unavailable so they would ask to talk to PA. They assumed it was a brother or a son. It was a bit of a struggle but I ended up on equal terms.

"Both Robert and I were made fellows of the Australian Hosuing Industry and to do that, you had to prove that 100 per cent of your income came from the building industry."

Ms Hazell is hoping to start a career in the building industry but said her attempts to start an apprenticeship had been hampered because of a lack of builders willing to hire her.

"She just has to find the right person to take her on," Ms Hanson said.

"There's no reason at all why women can't do the job. It's changed from when I was doing it too. Forty years ago a truck delivered a pile of timber and you built your own frame but now you buy trusses so that makes it much easier.

"There are more female electricians around now so maybe if she is really struggling to get a carpentry apprenticeship, she should look at some of the other trades."

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