By Margaret Maccoll
Classes filled for the SkillWomen workshop as soon as they were announced in Pomona and more were on the waiting list, such is the demand from women to learn tool skills,Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) president Fi Shewring said.
The workshops, held over the weekend at Noosa District State High School Pomona campus as part of Queensland Women’s Week, gave women instruction on the use of hand tools and basic power tools and was taught by a team of trained tradeswomen.
Each woman took home a wooden cutlery caddy created during a four-hour session which involved measuring wood, using various saws, drilling, nailing and finishing. They also gained the knowledge and confidence to do more.
“I really wanted to learn how to use a drill,” one woman said. “I wanted to learn the tricks of the trade,” said another. “I’m going to put up shelves in my home,” said a third.
Fi said her not for profit organisation which aims to increase awareness of women in trades and change perceptions of what a woman can do, had driven their mobile workshop from NSW to hold the first workshop of its kind in Queensland.
“I’ve done research on what helps women get into trades and most of them had been taught by their fathers or grandfathers,” she said.
“We find most women before the workshop didn’t think they could do it because it’s men’s work. Changing what women think they can do is changing society’s ideas of what they can do. Jobs don’t have a gender. We want a workforce that reflects society. It makes a workforce more productive.”
Fi said women’s demand to learn tool skills had seen a rise in women’s sheds but where men’s sheds provide places that encourages men to talk about their issues, women already talk together and want a shed where they can learn trade skills.