Women shun traditional tools of trade

Though more women are working than ever before, getting them to take up tools in traditionally male-dominated trades still remains a challenge.

New data released from TAFE South Western Sydney Institute's (SWSi) 2013 enrolments revealed there were 8100 men enrolled in courses at Granville College whereas there were only 5673 enrolled women.

TAFE SWSi institute director Peter Roberts attributed the gender difference to the type of courses offered at the college.

"Granville College is renowned for its qualifications in the traditional trades, with close to 40 per cent of all enrolments in 2013 in courses such as building, construction, automotive, electrotechnology and engineering," Mr Roberts said.

"The reality is traditional trades courses remain more popular among men than women."

Mr Roberts is encouraging more women to take up a trade like Carla McKeever of North Strathfield who is completing a Certificate III in Painting and Decorating.

Ms McKeever decided to study a trade because it offered her various career opportunities around the world.

"I wanted something that was creative but focused on manual labour because I enjoy manual labour," she said. "I come from an interior design background and I wanted a trade that was universal and that I could take around the world.

"I also wanted something that I could integrate in my previous trade [interior design]."

Ms McKeever is not fazed by working in a male dominated trade.

"I've encountered some interesting male views . . . I just said 'you just watch me'," she said.

"It wasn't until they saw me painting that they started to pay attention.

"One of them made a joke and came over and asked how long I'd been painting. I told him and he said: 'You need to get this girl on your job site. She cuts in better than you do'."

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