Jacqueline Forrest

SALT TRADESWOMAN, FOUNDING MEMBER, SALT WORKSHOP TRADIE, SALT OF THE EARTH VOLUNTEER TRADIE

TRADE: PAINTER AND DECORATOR

Age you entered trade and why
In July 2005, age 42 years, I was attracted to a Work Opportunities for Women course at Wollongong TAFE, a 6 month course which was an Introduction to Painting & Decorating.  My very first day I asked my teacher Fi & the head of the department if I could sign up there and then to do the Trade Course Certificate 111.  I was 100% sure it was what I wanted to do. A life changing career move.  I had always painted, as young as 10yrs of age, my mum was a brilliant decorator/handywomen, and I always helped her, she instilled an interest for me.  After leaving school I became a Flight Attendant, which I did for many years, but this was not such an alluring career, once I had 3 children.

What Challenges did you face
The fact I was female, phoning employers, recruitment agencies, it was always a cold reception.  Questions asked “Would I be able to lift a 10 litre tin of paint? I would need to start work early, no problem there after 5.00am starts and 3 kids later.

What Kept you going
The fact that I had such a passion for this trade, I was good at what I did, always giving 100%, having a positive attitude, and wanting to prove that I could make a business out of this Trade .

Which I did, in 2006 I entered a business partnership with Di a former student from Tafe.  We were both connected to the business and its future development.  We both joined the SALT group when it was first developed.  SALT is a fantastic group of women who support one another, and are prepared to push the boundaries for female tradies.

 

What do you love most about the trade
I love the challenges that my trade brings, physically & mentally, I get great pleasure reinventing a house/furniture, with that pot of magic PAINT.  Working hours that suit myself and my family, and of course being my own boss.

What triumphs have you had
Whilst studying at Tafe. I was awarded Apprentice of The Year 2006, in 2007 NAWIC award for excellence contribution by a Tradesperson.  Also that same year awarded The Australian Scholarship $2,000.  I participated in the Mural for Wollongong Birthing Unit, “Tree of Life”.

What do you do in your spare time
Excellent shopper! With a weakness for candles and cushions.  Cooking and spending time with family and friends, love to be sociable, and travel as much as time permits.

Finally
My goal is to encourage women to embrace this very self-satisfying trade.  If the opportunities that are available now, were an option for my mum all those years ago, then she too would most definitely have been Trade Qualified.