No glass ceilings for Jemma Lawson

The young carpenter is thriving in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry proving that anything boys can do, girls can do better.

19 November 2020
Jemma Lawson in her uniform
Image: This young carpenter is thriving in her role

When Jemma Lawson left school, she knew that university was not for her. Instead, she decided to start an apprenticeship and see where it took her. Jemma is now a second year apprentice carpenter on a commercial site. Jemma chose to do a carpentry apprenticeship because she had taken a woodworking class when she was in Year 7 and quickly discovered that she was passionate about the subject.

A carpenter specialises in creating structures using a variety of materials, including timber, concrete and steel. Carpentry is a physically demanding job that requires planning skills as well as the ability to work with a team of workers from other trades, such as plumbers and electricians. Jemma says that she loves carpentry because she gets to work with her hands to build and create new things, which brings her great satisfaction and joy. Being able to look at something and say ‘I helped to create that’ gives her a huge sense of pride.

Jemma quickly settled into working onsite thanks to the support of her new team mates. Whilst construction sites and trades are traditionally male-dominated, she overcame her first-day nerves and found that the team was very welcoming and easy to get along with. One of her favourite parts of the job is the great atmosphere.

Starting an apprenticeship can be a daunting prospect, but with the right support and opportunities, it can be a very rewarding experience. Jemma’s friends and family are all very proud of the career that she is building for herself and the job security that learning a trade offers her.

Jemma plans to finish her apprenticeship and become a carpenter, then take small steps from there on her way to becoming a boss. The company she is with at the moment have been very supportive and she knows that they will back her all the way through as she aims to achieve her goals.

Jemma says that her apprenticeship is one of the best decisions she has ever made and she is proud that she chose the path she did. She hopes to be able to inspire other young women to follow in her footsteps and to take on a trade apprenticeship.

To find out about Jemma’s experience as a woman in the trades, check out Episode 7 of EPPP TV.

Aspiring female tradies might also want to look at Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) and The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), two organisations that provide mentoring and other forms of support to women seeking a career in the trades.

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