Letisha

2nd year Carpentry Apprentice,
Construction

What is your advice to girls and women about working in non-traditional roles / industries?

100% go for it You will never know unless you try and don’t listen to what other people think if they tell you things like, you won’t fit in, it’s a man’s job, you will never be good enough. You will never know if you are meant for that job or good at it unless you try. There’s no harm in giving it a try.

Were you familiar with the industry you now work in before you started?

Yes and no, I did a lot of woodworking at school and some VET courses for carpentry, but it’s a whole different playing field when you get out there and start doing the work as a job and not just a school subject.

What are some of the coolest things you like about working in your industry?

I love to learn new things and be able to do jobs that not everyone can do. For example, working on and with machineries such as Boom Lifts and Scissor lifts. 

What do you love most about the work that you do?

Love being hands-on and being able to get out there and be active while working. I also enjoy getting out of my comfort zone and learning how to use new tools that I wouldn’t typically use. 

What successful strategies have you used that have helped you transition to working in a non-traditional industry?

Be yourself and don’t rely on other people to do the work for you. Trust and back yourself and show people that you can do the job just as good as anyone else or sometimes even better. Being in a male-dominated industry can be hard sometimes. It can be very intimidating being the only female in a class of 8-12 boys.

Some strategies I have found that make it easier when in a learning/classroom environment is to remember that only you are in control of how much effort you put in to learn, and if you come across any rude and inappropriate comments directed towards yourself to just ignore them and don’t their insecurities about a ‘female’ doing a ‘man’s job’ affect how you learn and how you present yourself.

How did you get started in your career pathway and what helped you along your career journey?

From year 7 or 8 to 12 I studied woodworking every year and semester. Which then led me to pursue my first VET course at TAFE Elizabeth which was Doorways To Construction in year 11 and then in year 12 I was able to do parts of my Cert 3 in preparation for my apprenticeship. 

What or who has influenced your career pathway?

I had 2 amazing woodworking teachers at my school who pushed me every semester and year to make something better, more involved, and more difficult. So they really inspired me to go above and beyond, to be better than the next person and work hard.

In school what subjects did you enjoy most or were good at?

I really enjoyed woodworking the most, in years 11 and 12 when we were introduced to frees, I would be in the workshop for most of my free time, sometimes even during recess and lunch. I struggled a lot being in classrooms for hours on end sitting in a chair and staring at a computer. 

What did you want to be or do when you left school?

I have known since a young age, maybe around 12-14, that I wanted to be a carpenter. This came about from being in woodworking at school and realising that I was good at it and then learning that I could make a career out of this and it wasn’t just a hobby. 

What type of qualifications do you have?

I completed a qualification in Cert 2 Doorways To Construction And currently working my way through my Cert 3 Carpentry.

Lastly, how are you making your own mark?

I am making my mark by working in a male-dominated industry as a female who works all over the city for people to see a female tradie and hopefully inspiring young female adults that men are not the only people entitled to do a job such as carpentry and that women can do it too and that they aren’t alone.

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