“Don’t give up. Keep asking until someone says yes!” – Billie

Women in Trades NZ

Kura: It’s pretty common for employers in the trades to hire mates, or mates of mates. If you don’t know anyone working in the trades – like a dad, brother, or uncle – it can be tricky to get a foot in the door. Here are some other ways to open those doors.

  1. Get prepared. Decide which of the trades you’d like to focus on. Know what’s required for the role such as licenses and key skills. Update your CV. Do some interview prep – know what the employer is looking for and know your strengths.
  2. Do some research on local tradespeople. Do a google search for trade businesses in your area.  Read their reviews, find out about their business and the best person to contact, get in touch, introduce yourself, and make it known that you’re keen. Follow tradies on Instagram like @kiwiplumber @wattsuplizzie @_joymaulu27 @jazz.greggschofield, @tradiegal @that.plastering.girl @generator74 @nineyardsconsulting @tradesrivers @vunga.ungounga, @bulidingwithjordy, @roof_chick_nz
  1. Do a pre-trades course. If you have any concerns about your level of experience, a pre-trade training course can be a good idea. It will allow you to try a variety of different jobs to see which ones you’re interested in and give you a feel for the job without a long-term commitment.
  1. Volunteer. If you get the opportunity – or even better – create the opportunity, put your hand up for any on-the-job experience you can get. such as working as a labourer. Labouring work will give you a great taste of what to expect on-site and help you make some great connections.
  1. Attend a Women in Trades event. This is where training and industry organisations, employers, tradeswomen and trade suppliers can show you the endless possibilities of a trade career and the steps to take to get you there.
  1. Stay focussed. You might get a few knockbacks but ask for feedback and keep at it. Learn what you might need to improve on and keep a positive attitude. “Don’t give up. Keep asking until someone says yes!” – Billie. Auckland Tradeswoman.

Kura: But if you are lucky enough to know someone in the trades, the best thing you can do is ask them to introduce you to people looking to hire apprentices or tradespeople.

“You can teach skills but you can’t teach attitude.” – Kura

Women in Trades NZ
Women in Trades NZ

Kura: One thing we heard over and over again from the trades employers in our focus groups was, “You can teach skills but you can’t teach attitude.”

Lack of direct experience isn’t always a barrier to getting a job in the trades.

With COVID-19 causing a shortage of fully qualified staff, a lot of employers are prepared to provide training for people with potential and a good attitude.

If you can pick up a toddler you could pick up a trade, If you can parallel park, you could drive a crane. If you’ve worked in a variety of jobs, or you’ve managed a family household, you’ve already developed skills that easily transfer to the trades. Skills like these:

  • A willingness to learn
  • Positivity
  • A can-do attitude
  • Resilience (Being flexible and adaptable)
  • Trustworthiness
  • Reliability
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management,
  • People management
  • Budgeting
  • Organisational skills
  • Multi-tasking

Red hot tip

Don’t just list these skills on your CV. Think of times when you’ve demonstrated these skills in a real-world situation so you can recall examples to use in interviews.

Kura: If some of those things sound a bit fancy, or you’re worried you don’t quite understand what some of them mean, just give ‘em a google, and you’ll probably go, “Oh yeah. I do that all the time!”

This quote from an employer in Dunedin says it all.

I would hire based on; where’s your moral compass at? Tell me, are you going to get out of bed in the morning and get to work on time without being hounded to do so? Are you going to be presentable? Are you going to be ready to work, are you willing to work hard, and are you willing to learn? Are you willing to receive feedback? If you tick all of those boxes, you’ve got the job. If you haven’t got the skills, don’t worry, we’ll teach you because the people off-the-shelf to slot into the job just don’t exist anymore. You’ve got to go into it deliberately prepared, ready with an understanding of that, and advertise as such. To say, ‘Look, hey, don’t worry if you don’t have the skills. Don’t worry if you don’t have the experience. If your attitude’s in the right place, come talk to us.’

Probably the most important skill you’ll need when you start in the trades is the ability to authentically be yourself. Wellington tradeswoman, Joy, sums it up beautifully.

It’s ok to be shy. You don’t need to be someone else. Just stick to your work and be you. When someone gives me a hard time I remember I’m not there for them. I’m there for me and my family. Don’t let anyone get in your way.

Find out what you can expect to earn from a selection of the trades.

Trade Careers NZ
Women in Trades NZ

This year, roofing, plumbing, electricians, civil engineering, and quantity surveying made moneyhub.co.nz’s Top 20 list of jobs to get into.

The list is based on the number of jobs available, how your career can progress, and what they pay.

Here’s what you can expect to earn from a selection of the trades in the construction and infrastructure industries. Plus, if you are an apprentice, you earn while you learn and fees are free until December 2022!

Electrician: $20—$45 per hour*
Length of training: 3—4 Years

Crane Operator $18—$35 per hour*
Length of training: Less than 2 years

Plumber, Gasfitter and Drainlayer: $20—$41 per hour*
Length of training: 2—4 Years

Plasterer: $20—$30 per hour*
Length of training: 1—3 Years

Building and Construction Labourer: $20—$40 per hour*
Length of training: Varied
Length of training: 3—4 years

Roofer: $14—$40 per hour*
Length of training: Up to 3 years

Painter and Decorator: $22—$33 per hour*
Length of training: Up to 3 Years

Timber Joiner: $25—$40 per hour*
Length of training: 3—4 Years

Carpenter: $20—$50 per hour*
Length of training: 3—4 Years

Wall and Floor Tiler: $20—$35 per hour*
Length of training: Varied

Telecommunications Technician: $18—$33 per hour*
Length of training 4 years

Electrical Engineer: $24—$96 per hour*
Length of training 4 years

Survey Technician: $21—$38 per hour*
Length of training 2 years

Environmental Engineer: $21—$76 per hour*
Length of training 3—4 years

Civil Engineering Technician: $24—$52 per hour*
Length of training 1—2 years

Quantity Surveyor: $24—$72 per hour*
Length of training 2—3 years

Kura: Go on. Give it a red hot go!

* Source: www.careers.govt.nz. Hourly rates based on 2019 figures. Pay range based on level of experience.

“I love my job.”

Jazz Gregg-Schofield, is a qualified electrician and fire + security technician who runs her own business. She is a mama, lives in Manawatu and can do an epic deadlift. Representation matters! Check out her kōrero.

Insta : @jazz_the_sparky 

“Prep and perfection - that’s the name of the game.”

Tegan Williams is the  New Zealand Tradeswoman of the Year, 2021. She is a painter and decorator and has been on the tools for the last 5 years.  She shares why she loves the trades and gives some tips on earning while you learn. Check out her kōrero.

Insta : @tradiegal 

“Check out the plumbers in your area and give them a call.”

At only 22 and as a fourth-year plumbing & gasfitting apprentice Billie shares some trade secrets of the life of an apprentice. Check out her kōrero.

@that_plumber_chick_nz

Right! Ready to give this a red hot go?