Tools for Success scholarship program

Nailed it: Carpenter Vanda Blakeway: "My physical capabilities aren't as good as the boys', but I pay more attention to details and I'm generally smarter than them on the academic side." Picture: Gary Warrick

Nailed it: Carpenter Vanda Blakeway: "My physical capabilities aren't as good as the boys', but I pay more attention to details and I'm generally smarter than them on the academic side." Picture: Gary Warrick

Women make up  just 13 per cent of apprentices in NSW — and the government is keen to change that.

Of those few women who chose trades, most opt for traditionally female trades  such as  hairdressing or catering, so the Federation of Housing Associations created the Tools for Success scholarship scheme — funded by Family and Community Services.

The ongoing scheme offers individual scholarships of up to $5000 for training for women who live in social housing to pursue training in male-dominated trades.

Vanda Blakeway, a 30-year-old mother-of-two from Werrington County, started carpentry trade training at TAFE two years ago.

She said she was anxious about how the her male peers would react.

‘‘When they saw I  knew  what I was doing and had a really good understanding of the trade they were fine,’’ she said.

Ms Blakeway praised the work of organisations like Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen [SALT].

‘‘They do a great job of letting young women they can consider trades as an alternative. There was nothing like that when I was in school.’’

Federation chief executive Lucy Burgmann said: ‘‘Learning a non-traditional trade can lead to a well-paid, flexible career and a pathway to independence.’’

Details: SALT Australia, Community Housing.

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