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We Are Union VTHC
We Are Union Journal
News from the working class
Free speech at work? It's complicated

Women Onsite: the chippy with a PhD

"Women Onsite has changed my life. I was finishing off a PhD in social work. I worked with people with disabilities before that, worked with kids prior but initially did a degree in forest science and worked in forest fire management. I've done quite a few things.

I was very nervous and apprehensive before I started my pre-app. I think if I was younger and less sure of myself, it would have stopped me, but given my age and where I am in my life, I thought - it doesn't matter, just push on. Even entering into the job, I thought there might be some workplace discrimination and so forth, but the company Iā€™m with have been just fantastic and supportive.

At TAFE, we had four teachers in the end. One said - you've done all these different things, no one is going to give you a job. It felt good to tell this particular teacher when I got the job! He couldn't believe it. I don't know what his problem was.

Women Onsite was a game changer for me. It's been 3-4 years for me thinking about getting into carpentry, but it didn't propel me to enrol until I saw Women Onsite. I felt so supported, like I wasn't on my own. That made a huge difference.

Some of my friends saw that my practical side and creative side would marry each other and that I would really enjoy it. Others, well to be honest, there were a couple who basically thought - Fantastic, can you do our deck? Can you build us cabinets immediately?!

Why carpentry? This is the first job that I actually love, I actually love this job. If I didn't push myself through those anxieties and barriers, it would've been just something that I wanted - but didn't do. If you think in your mind that it might be a possibility, give it a go."

- Hoang, 1st year carpentry apprentice

If, like Hoang, you're a woman interested in pursuing an apprenticeship or traineeship, check out Trades Hall's Women on Site project.