Initiative helping women in trades to connect

When Brie Cook entered the construction industry, it was a lonely place for a young woman working in the trades.

Now the final-year building apprentice has formed "Constructing Community", an initiative to help women in trades connect, and encourage others to explore getting involved in the industry.

"I felt quite alone as a woman, and I didn’t know any other — tradie ladies— so I’ve always thought it would be great to have a workshop and get some girls together and get them involved."

New to the industry, she wanted to wait until she felt "more qualified" before starting anything. However, that changed this year and Miss Cook launched Six Weeks of Trade Talks, a series of talks from women in trades.

Apprentice builder Brie Cook is creating spaces for women in trades to connect. PHOTO: SHANNON...
Apprentice builder Brie Cook is creating spaces for women in trades to connect. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON

"This year I just felt ready, so I went ahead and made a little group for everyone to come and support each other, talk about their work and their struggles and learn about tools, [and] get some new girls into the trades.

"We had a qualified trade lady from our community come along from different trades and speak about their work, what they do, how to get into their work, what they like about it, what they don’t like."

Attendees then worked on a building a tool box, gaining practical skills with the tools.

The series wrapped up with a brunch and plans for a monthly meet-up are in the pipeline.

New Zealand Structurally Insulated Panels (NZSIP) production operator Kim Birtles attended the trade talks and found them to be a useful addition to her knowledge of the industry.

"The speakers showed you the pathways and steps to do different things to get into different parts of the industry."

Connection with other women in trades was a key element for people staying in the industry, she said.

"These types of things are really important, just to have that connection."




Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter