A Wodonga Woman is bucking gender stereotypes and helping to meet skill shortages in the Murray region by pursuing a career in carpentry.
Britney McLaren is about halfway through her apprenticeship, learning a skill in high demand across the Murray region, along with other trades, aged care and childcare.
Her passion started from work experience in Year 10.
“I did two weeks with a guy in Mount Beauty and absolutely loved it”, Ms McLaren said.
In Year 12, instead of going to university Ms McLaren took a job with Chris Seaton of 23 Carpentry.
“When I first started calling up people you’d have those people go ‘nah you’re a girl, see ya later’,” she said.
“When I gave Chris a call he was eager to give me a go”.
“I was like ‘why not?’”, Mr Seaton said.
“It was hard work for her, but she was really keen and eager and her heart set on it”.
Ms McLaren said her favourite part of the job was feeling of accomplishment after a big job.
“You just drive past and go, ‘yeah I helped build that’,” she said.
“Some guys have come and gone,” Mr Seaton said. “She is still here, two years and seven months she told me the other day, not bad. She is still keen and still improving. I can’t fault her”.
Ms McLaren said she can’t wait to start her own business.
“I just love working with my hands outside”, Ms McLaren said.
“It’s mentally and physically draining sometimes, but I push forward and am just loving it”.
She said TAFE was “definitely” a good option.
“I think a lot of people don’t consider TAFE, but they should”, she said.
Ms McLaren encourages other, particularly girls, to give a trade a go.
“You never know unless you try”, she said.
Mr Seaton also offered his encouragement.
“If there’s other girls out there wanting to go for a position in trades they’ve gotta present themselves”, he said.