Cordelia Nash is a third year electrical apprentice with NECA Education & Careers, hosted to Tas Ports.
Emily Baker, Sunday Tasmanian
CHELSEA Whelan was the state’s first female bricklayer, but she wasn’t looking to smash the glass ceiling.
For Ms Whelan, picking up the tools was a spur-of-the-moment decision.
“My dad and pop are bricklayers,” Ms Whelan said. “I didn’t have a job at the time … I was like ‘what do I do’ and my dad was like, well I can get you a job.”
Ms Whelan is one of 555 Tasmanian women undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship in what is classed as a traditional trade — that is, one usually associated with men.
Cordelia Nash, an apprentice electrician, said she was used to being the only woman at work.
“Once you get over feeling a little intimidated at the start, it’s just like anywhere else,” she said.
Minister for Women Jacquie Petrusma wants more women to take up a traditional trade.
She said workplaces benefited from the different skills and abilities women brought to the table, while women benefited from the economic security of what could be well-paid work.
“A lot of these trades are very high-paying jobs and if we want to narrow the gender pay gap we need to get women in more traditional areas,” Ms Petrusma said.
Apprentice carpenter Mel Ransley said she didn’t believe women should be forced into trades but that it was important young women realised it was a possibility.
Ms Whelan, Ms Nash and Ms Ransley are undertaking apprenticeships at TasTAFE, which will hold an apprenticeship information evening at its Clarence campus cafeteria, November 29, 6-7.30pm.
First published in The Mercury, 18 November 2018.