This International Women’s Day, we spoke with three Women in Construction who are leading the way toward an empowered, equal workforce within the industry. We picked the brain of Penny Petridis about the trails blazed by Female Tradie, and the future that she not only hopes for, but is actively helping to shape. Without further ado, here’s her full interview.
Q. So, how did Female Tradie come about?
Working as a carpenter, on the tools, on a daily basis in people’s houses, I was hearing such awful stories from my clients of their experiences with previous builders and tradespeople; I knew I could provide a better service. Clients are letting tradespeople into their homes and lives and it’s terrible that they are then left feeling let down, disappointed or, more over, ripped off.
I felt there was gap in the market that I could fill with a group of fellow female tradies. Together, we could provide a fantastic service on a consistent level with great attention to detail and fabulous communication skills.
Q. What are the goals of Female Tradie, in regard to empowering women in construction?
Female Tradie is all about promoting, supporting, connecting & encouraging Women in non-traditional roles and the trades. It’s about showing the future generations of girls that they can do what they want; no trade or job is unachievable. It’is about opening the doors and using industry contacts to make the pathway into an apprenticeship easy; we’re there to support them in any way we can.
Q. What is Female Tradie’s proudest achievement?
My Instagram and Facebook show all my achievements that I’m proud of. There is nothing better than a client loving the results of their renovations and standing back together and enjoying that moment.
We also occasionally run workshops for women to enhance their skills and to become more confident in using both hand and power tools. I love how grateful and excited they all get when they learn how to do something practical. Some women have dreamt of being tradies all their lives and unfortunately didn’t know where to begin. It’s all about awareness and I’ll continue to make this my mission.
Q. What would you say is the biggest challenge, and biggest reward, for women in construction?
The biggest challenge, in my opinion, is for girls/women to think of learning a trade as second nature. The education system is failing when TAFE options aren’t put to the girls that are interested in woodwork, etc. Careers advisers should be suggesting girls into trades when they’re not academic; when someone is passionate about a skill or vocation, they achieve much higher results and personal fulfilment.
Q. What would you say to women currently in construction, or those trying to get into the industry?
I would encourage women currently in construction, or those trying to get in the industry, to follow their passion. If they come up against a challenge, dig deep and use the resilience that women have to find another way to get to where they want to be. I would encourage them to seek out other women in their industry and communicate and support each other.
The days of bad or poor-quality workmanship are numbered. Customers will not tolerate rude or incompetent builders for much longer and that can only be a good thing for all consumers. I will help that happen by providing great workers and a fantastic quality of work on a daily basis.