The Female Chippie
Emma’s dad is a carpenter, she went to work with him every Saturday when she was younger and loved it, she took up woodwork at high school and wanted to carry it on. At first, Emma's parents weren’t too keen on the idea, she did hospitality first (during school), but after she did the pre-apprenticeship course for carpentry, her Mum & Dad realised she was serious about it and supported her the whole way.
Though Emma struggled to get work at first, calling all over Australia, trying to get a job, once she connected with HIA her luck changed. The Housing Industry Association is also a Group Training Organisation which places apprentices with employers. Apprentices can move around depending on the workload of each employer.
The stereotype about the building industry being pretty blokey is still very real. Emma says she hasn’t come across any women in the industry as yet and had to prove herself at first to be accepted. Those days are over though and now she says she is just like everyone else and very much a part of the team.
Emma has TAFE three nights a week. She is in her third year now after doing her pre-apprenticeship in Wollongong. In the future she hopes to get her builder’s licence and build her own house. Emma’s aim is to be as good as her dad!
She concedes that it is physical work, can be hard when it’s hot but ultimately an extremely rewarding career.