Making History in Tasmania
MAS National strives to make apprenticeships accessible for everyone by helping to break down stereotypes around women entering trades that are traditionally dominated by men.
In 2018, MAS made history by supporting Chelsea Whelan to become the first official female apprentice bricklayer in Tasmania.
Both Chelsea’s father and grandfather were in the trade, and she spent a lot of time on building sites during her childhood. After trying out a handful of other careers, Chelsea returned to her original plan at the age of 20 and began her bricklaying apprenticeship.
Humbled that her achievement has been so celebrated, Chelsea encourages other women not to let society’s expectations get in the way of their dreams.
“It’s pretty cool, but I am not really fazed by it – it’s exactly the same as any other bloke going for the job. I like the end product a lot. I like when you finish the house you can be like, ‘Man, I actually built that’.”
Chelsea completed her apprenticeship at Crossin Bricklaying, where owner Andrew Crossin has been impressed with Chelsea’s approach.
“It just starts with attitude and then everything will follow once you’re in the right headspace,” he said. “Chelsea just gets in and has a go and wants to do it.”
Andrew is keen to see more women take up the trade. “I think it’s a bit of an untapped resource,” he said.
The days of wolf whistles are gone and there are very strict rules on sites around gender equality. “As long as there’s a women’s toilet, that’s the only thing that matters” says Chelsea.
Stories like Chelsea’s help to inspire MAS in encouraging other women who are considering work in traditionally male-dominated industries, and to drive initiatives such as the Women’s Entrepreneur Networking program.
Networking for Women
MAS National, together with Business & Employment, established a Women’s Entrepreneur Networking program in 2010, to provide Tasmanian women with the opportunity to tap into sources of business knowledge and explore personal and career development opportunities.
Attracting over a thousand like-minded women and high calibre guest speakers, the Women’s Entrepreneur Networking program focuses on women in small business by hosting events that feature guest speakers designed to inspire and encourage business growth, networking and mentoring opportunities.
Chat to MAS
If you’ve been inspired to start a trade, employ a female apprentice or want to get involved in the Women’s Entrepreneur Networking program as a guest, mentor or speaker, contact MAS on 1300 627 628.