Age you entered trade -  I was 16, I completed year 10 and knew I didn’t want to go back to do year 11-12. I liked school but didn’t want to go on to University. I saw an ad in the local paper for Pre-apprenticeships, they included Carpentry, Electrical, Plumbing and Painting and Decorating. I was so excited and told my dad who was a contractor plumber.

I thought he would be proud if I followed in his footsteps. He wasn’t very supportive of the idea.  I remember him saying “no way is my daughter going to be a plumber digging toilet holes”.  So I decided to apply for Painting and Decorating. I’d always loved craft and painting and thought it would be fun. So I made my decision on my own and have never looked back.

Why you entered trade - After completing 12 months of Pre-apprenticeship I enjoyed the work so much I really wanted to continue in this trade. The possibilities are endless in trade careers.

How you entered trade - I was lucky enough to find a position on Sutherland Shire Council. I was there first female apprentice in history in Painting and Decorating. I completed my 4 years in my apprenticeship and continued another 3-4 yrs after my apprenticeship finished

What challengers did you face - There are always challengers in every job, you just have to choose your battles. I worked only with all men. Many were supportive but there was definitely a few who tried to push me around and bully me. I overcome this with talking with others and setting boundaries.      

What kept you going -    I loved what I did, it was a huge diverse career. From painting Kindergartens, Surf Clubs even Cronulla Mall when it was built in the 90’s. The money was a plus and the people you meet are always fun. You are always learning new techniques and products change immensely but learning is fun.

What makes you really proud - I am now a mother of three girls aged 21, 19 and 6. My children are proud of my accomplishments because of my trade in Painting and Decorating I have been able to support my family and take them overseas many times. There has been times in my life that I’ve had other jobs including hardware, retail, cleaning even aged care.  I’ve always been able to come back to my trade at all times in my life. My proudest moment was when I went back to TAFE to do a quick course, the teacher who taught me 25 yrs previously asked me to teach. Gotta love that.