Tradie girls getting it done with female apprentice boost
THE Sunshine Coast is leading the way in smashing sexist workplace stigmas by giving females a start in male-dominated professions.
To coincide with the annual Sunshine Coast Daily Careers Expo, East Coast Apprenticeships has been promoting female apprenticeships in the building industry.
Among its newest recruits is 19-year-old carpenter Grace Marshall, who said she had found her calling in life.
"I absolutely love it," she said.
"People are always telling you in high school 'oh you need to figure out what you're going to do with your life'. It's a nice feeling to finally know."
Grace grew up in New Zealand and moved to the Coast with her mother three years ago before finishing school and setting out to be a diesel mechanic like her uncle back home.
After struggling to find work Grace took up the opportunity with ECA to become a carpenter. Then her mother moved to Rockhampton on placement, leaving Grace to fend for herself on an apprentice wage of $9 an hour.
"I wasn't going to give away my new job and move with her," Grace said.
"I'm a big kid now."
Grace's boss Kyle Unwin said he did not feel comfortable differentiating between men and women in the workforce.
"It's not how you should approach it," he said.
"Her sex doesn't affect how she swings a hammer."
But he did praise her ability and passion for the job.
"She's only just started and she's got a good knack for it.
"She's a lot neater with fitouts, but I couldn't put that down to her sex.
"I think it's just her."
ECA's Females in Trade program was successfully implemented at the start of the year, and it has boosted the Sunshine Coast's female apprenticeship average above the national.
The not-for-profit organisation boasts an impressive 85% retention rate compared to the national average of 55%.comments powered by Disqus