It has always been a joy to work in the ACT and a number of factors have supported this. We have a strong and committed team of SALT members who have always been proactive within the ACT and surrounds but who have also been very supportive of the work the mobile team carries out. The two teams mesh together with great synchronicity and this has enabled a full team of workshop tradespeople to be formed in the ACT and surrounding area. The ACT Education Directorate has also always been very encouraging of the work SALT does and helped to keep us connected to schools in their area.

Tour One in the ACT continued the work that SALT has been committed to for many years with our first visit being in the inaugural year of the mobile workshop, 2012, and has continued since that point. The tour included primary and high schools plus a community event and we appreciated working with the National Careers Institute, CIT Bruce Carpentry Department, the Canberra YWCA, Skills Canberra and all the schools we ran workshops in.

Feedback from the high schools resulted in the following:
1. 68% of participants changed what they thought they could do after the workshop
2. 49% were now interested in the construction trades
3. 76% were now interested in more training and experience in the trades
4. 96% stated they wanted to do another workshop like the one they had just completed
5. 100% of Career Advisors stated that the workshop had changed the attitudes of the participants to trade careers.

Comments from Career Advisors included:

• I had one of our disengaged girls come up to me at the end of the workshop and said “this has been the best school day of my life”, “I loved it”. This is a yr10 girl wanting to now get in the industry.
• The workshop was a fantastic opportunity for girls in our school to learn about careers in trade and link with some mentors. They were highly engaged & expressed that the day was enjoyable and made them consider trade careers/further study. It was incredibly well organised & all round an amazing day for our kids.
• I recruited years 6 & 7 students plus two year 9 educationally vulnerable students. All spoke to me during the break about wanting more similar experiences, early on in their secondary education, rather than waiting for work experience in year 10. One way I can support this enthusiasm is to liaise with the year 6 teachers to provide some careers lessons. I will do that as follow up.

As a Workshop Tradie with SALT, it never ceases to amaze me the impact that the Workshop brings to the students.  At Caroline Chisholm School the careers advisor was more than helpful and was super excited that several of the students were wishing to participate, as they were quite disengaged at school normally.  I also met Susan Beer for the first time as she was joining the SALT team, we all come from different backgrounds and different trades, but have the main goal of making a difference to the attitudes of the students, towards considering a career in the Trades.  I also caught up with another workshop tradie, Helene from the Riverina whom I had worked with previously.  The camaraderie between all the SALT team is pretty special.

A quote from one of my students “This has been the best day ever, as I normally do not like to be involved.  You have made my year!!” Jacquie Forrest – SALT Tradie.

1. Your Name:
Susan Beer

2. Your Trade:
Furniture Upholstery

3. The age you entered your trade and how you did this:
At age 25 I began as 1st Year Apprentice. I approached local upholstery businesses directly and also Holmesglen TAFE in Melbourne who ran the accredited side of the apprenticeship.

4. What attracted you to your trade?
Making old pieces of furniture beautiful and functional again for generations to enjoy. Preserving history and preventing unnecessary landfill and waste.

5. What keeps you going when times are hard?
Knowing that I now have the confidence to use my hands, tools and equipment to create anything. Having a community of amazing humans to always be able to have a chat with.

6. What makes you really proud?
That I backed myself to make the move into an industry where women were rarely given the chance and if they were it was to be a sewing machinist and not on the tools. I have met some wonderful mentors in the industry, who’s guidance I will be forever grateful for.

7. Have you had different careers?
Yes, after school I studied Hotel & Business Management in Melbourne. Which then lead me to working all over Europe in Events, Boutique Hotels, Super Yachts & Luxury Ski Chalets.

8. What do you believe are the benefits of working in a trade as opposed to more traditional employment?
I now run my own small business from home, I have the flexibility to juggle two small kids. The opportunity to collaborate with other furniture trades, designers and join inspiring organisations like SALT!

9. What do you love most about your trade?
Seeing the joy and sentimental value on clients faces when you restore their relatives armchair for them to enjoy for decades to come.

10. What personal triumphs have you had?
Finishing my Apprenticeship in 2012 and experiencing some work experience in Europe & establishing my upholstery business in Canberra.

11. What do you do in your spare time?
Walks with our dog Rosie & Family, swimming, tennis and baking!

12. Links to website/social media and/or hashtags
Website: Instagram: @juteupholstery

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