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Elisabeth's building her future

Elisabeth Matters is a confident young Torres Strait Islander woman who knows her way around a workshop. Elisabeth has her sights set on building a successful carpentry career.

Elisabeth knew from an early age that she wanted to pursue a trade career.

"I have always liked to build and create things. When I was younger, my dad used to have hobby projects and I used to always help him. That was really fun, so that sparked an interest in carpentry for me," Elisabeth said.

To make sure she was on the right path and to get a taste of the industry, Elisabeth completed work experience in Year 11. The work experience was a success, and with no doubt in her mind Elisabeth took on a school-based carpentry apprenticeship. Undertaking trade training alongside her high school studies was no small feat, but the decision resulted in Elisabeth gaining more industry exposure and a career head start.

Elisabeth's confidence increased throughout her school-based apprenticeship as she began to master the basics of her trade. Elisabeth was earning a wage in an industry she loved and her training would ultimately shave study time off her apprenticeship, which she transitioned into after finishing Year 12. Elisabeth is accessing free apprenticeships for under 25s to complete a Certificate III in Carpentry (CPC30211).

"Being able to access free training is very beneficial for me as it reduces financial stress. I have the opportunity to save up for a work vehicle and some tools instead of having to pay for my education," she said.

Elisabeth's training is delivered via blocks at the Townsville (Trade Training Centre Bohle) campus.

"The thing I most enjoy about TAFE Queensland training is that I get to meet new people and new apprentices who are learning the same trade, so we can conjoin ideas and I can get a new perspective on something I might not know."

"AT TAFE Queensland, my teachers have been very friendly and helpful, and my training is helping me complete my work tasks. For example, my teachers taught me about working at heights and I've been able to use those skills to complete roof checks at work."

Elisabeth is employed by Ausco Modular and said her employer was incredibly supportive of her career development.

"As an apprentice carpenter, I've not only been able to work in the factory constructing modular buildings, I also get to head out of the factory, installing them on-site like in Bamaga, Gladstone and Barcaldine. I never thought I would be able to travel everywhere; it's pretty fun and it's really exciting that I get to see new places."

Elisabeth is making her mark in her industry and has her sights set on one day giving back.

"In the future, I see myself completing my apprenticeship, being a fully qualified carpenter and maybe that will lead to me being able to teach other apprentices coming up and maybe doing a supervising job."

Elisabeth is passionate about her industry and she hopes her trade journey inspires other women to consider a similar pathway. Elisabeth is a rarity on job sites, with women making up just one per cent of the national carpentry workforce.

"If a young woman or a girl wanted to do a trade career, I would tell them to go for it and be brave. In today's world we have programs and support networks helping women break into trades."