NewsMonday 01 Aug 2016

TAFE women challenge gender norms in non-traditional trades

In Australia, women in trades are underrepresented, occupying just 15.3 percent of technical and trade apprenticeships yet students from North Coast TAFE’s Wollongbar Campus are tackling these norms head on, completing automotive, electrotechnology and plumbing apprenticeships.

Outstanding TAFE student, Esther Bullock, 23, from Blue Knob in Nimbin, is undertaking an apprenticeship with Alstonville Automotive Services where she works as a mechanic.

“Honestly I just love working on cars and I wouldn’t want to do anything else. I never felt intimidated to get into it,” says Ms Bullock, who encourages more girls to challenge gender stereotypes.

“It’s not scary and I think I actually had more of chance finding a job being a female than I first thought,” says Ms Bullock.

Meanwhile Electrotechnology student Maddison Carr, 19, from Lismore, was recently recognised for her achievements by her peers. Ms Carr studied Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician and picked up Electrical Trades Apprentice of the Year.

“I would recommend trying a trade to every girl I meet. I love it, it’s fun and I don’t see why it has to be a male dominated trade. Girls have the same skills as men.” Maddison Carr, Lismore

Bob Harper, from Electrogroup, the apprentice group industry training provider who helped place Ms Carr, believes that the rise in women taking on non-traditional trades is a great boost to the industry.

“Maddison is a great young apprentice and I’m proud of what she’s achieved,” said Mr Harper.

“I have had females complete [their apprenticeship] and now they’re running around as tradespeople. We really love getting young ladies into the trade.”

Head teacher, Adam West, says Ms Carr displayed outstanding dedication and application to her electrotechnology training and believes she will be a great asset to the industry.

Women on the whole represent 46% of all Aussie employees, so we have a bit of work to go before we see these statistics represented across trades.”

“I’m proud of what our North Coast TAFE apprentices are achieving, Maddison relates well to her colleagues and is really enthusiastic about being a sparky and backs it all up with a positive outlook.”

Both students were honoured earlier this year at the North Coast TAFE’s Wollongbar Campus annual Awards of Excellence.