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Designing her dream career change

When Ness Norimi decided to change her career she did it the hard way: putting on a nail bag at 35 and completing a carpentry apprenticeship while studying advanced building at night. She was 45kg and 5 foot 1, and definitely stood out on the job site.

By TAFE Queensland

Thirty-five-year-old Ness Norimi was working as an English teacher when she realised that she no longer found her career fulfilling. She had always loved making things as a child and originally dreamed of one day becoming a builder. After completing her first home renovation her passion was rekindled and she decided it was time to make a change.

Making that life-changing decision was just the beginning, and Ness recalls some of the difficulties she faced in creating a work-study-life balance and dealing with stereotypes on the job.

“When I started my career change, I did it the hard way. I put on a nail bag at the age of 35 and completed a commercial carpentry apprenticeship while studying advanced building at night. I was 45kg and at 5 foot 1, I definitely stood out on the job site,” said Ness.

She went on to complete her carpentry apprenticeship followed by a Certificate in IV Residential Drafting (Building Design) and a Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building).

“It all starts with the right qualification. A Diploma in Building and Construction is the key to opening many doors in project management, which is a game that everyone can play. People from all backgrounds can enjoy success, whether they are ex-tradies, engineers, architects, or project administrators,” she said.

Ness went on to build a successful plumbing and construction business with her partner and spent years supervising large scale commercial and residential projects. Wanting to inspire and encourage others, Ness now teaches at TAFE Queensland and is proof that nothing is impossible when it comes to passion.

“The building and construction industry in Australia is going through a period of immense change and it doesn’t matter how strong your forearm is or how easily you can lift a nail gun, it’s all about taking charge of your career, using your smarts and becoming your own boss."

Now Ness wants to help others achieve their goals, using her passion and life experiences to demonstrate that if she can make a successful career change, then anyone can do it, and that nothing is impossible for women in trades.

TAFE Queensland will be hosting a free online Advanced Building webinar on Tuesday 29 January from 6-7pm. To register your interest click here.