MEET THE LOCALS

Girls having cracking success in traditional male-dominated trade

New apprentice on deck: Jade Stewart (right) pictured with her boss, Nathan Cowan.

New apprentice on deck: Jade Stewart (right) pictured with her boss, Nathan Cowan.

She's the lady tradie who is showing the blokes she has got what it takes to join them in their industry.

Kurnell's Jade Stewart is a first year apprentice in carpentry. She left Cronulla High School in year 11 to start in the building trade, with Cowan Build, a Caringbah-based company.

Jade also works with her older brother, Brock, who lends a helping hand on site.

The 17 year old decided to drop out of school - a move that was supported by her teachers.

"I really loved my construction and timber classes, and when I told my teacher Mr Moore I was leaving he said 'go for it,' you'll be great in the industry," she said.

"That really boosted my confidence."

Tinkering around with timber brings its challenges, but Jade says all the boys help out with the heavy lifting.

"It's good exercise," Jade said. "I also really enjoy cutting up the timber for the boys, making measurements and sweeping the saw dust.

"A dream job one day would be as a work, health and safety advisor. I've got to work my way up."

Heavy load, no worries: Jade gets busy on site.

Heavy load, no worries: Jade gets busy on site.

Jade's boss and company owner, Nathan Cowan, has taken on not one but two females from Sutherland Shire as apprentices.

He says these young ladies "deserve a plug" for getting out there in a male-dominated industry.

"She's my second female apprentice," Mr Cowan said.

"I actually find the girls are there because they want to be there, nut just because they have to. It's generally not a traditional female job but they're having a crack and they're learning fast."

He says the girls certainly bring a lot of unique skills to table - a touch of creativity, and attention to detail.

"There's some good healthy competition," Mr Cowan said. "It keeps the guys in check, gets rid of a bit of ego."

He also said lockdown has deeply affected the industry.

"It's hard to find workers at the moment," he said.

"I'm open to employing females so that doubles the chances...there's so much work out there but it's hard to find labour workers. Everyone is renovating at the moment."