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Emma encourages women to pursue trade careers

She’s skilled, capable, and keen - meet Emma Flori, a 20-year-old apprentice cabinet maker on the Gold Coast encouraging other young women to pursue trade careers.

Before picking up the tools, Emma faced the universal dilemma of choosing a career path. She was drawn to the idea of engaging in physical work but was unsure which direction to take.

A visit to TAFE Queensland’s Ashmore campus marked a pivotal moment for Emma, and became the turning point in her career.

“Among all the different trade areas of electrotechnology, plumbing, automotive, carpentry and engineering, it was cabinet making that resonated with me. It just really stuck with me," said Emma.

Emma is now thriving as a first year apprentice at Joinery Eleven on the Gold Coast, while completing a Certificate III in Cabinet Making and Timber Technology at TAFE Queensland's Ashmore campus. 

“I love going to work and learning new things each day. I am fascinated by the intricate processes behind kitchen and bathroom constructions and find it very cool to see how it is all put together,” she said.

“It was the completion of my first cupboard, that really cemented my self-belief. I wasn't sure whether I could do it, but I built it all by myself and I remember thinking ‘wow’ and feeling very accomplished.”

Facing an industry dominated by men, Emma initially harbored reservations about a trade career. Yet, she found a welcoming and supportive community that values skill over gender, further strengthened by the presence of other women at Joinery Eleven.  

“Working alongside other women gives me reassurance that I can actually make a career out of this. It’s so nice to have that connection with other female apprentices, knowing that we are doing it together,” said Emma.

Jim Parsell, Managing Director of Joinery Eleven has been instrumental in fostering this inclusive environment by taking progressive steps hiring female apprentices like Emma.

"These women are producing outstanding results for us," he said, affirming the quality and contribution females bring to the industry.

For young women hesitating at the crossroads of career decisions, Emma’s message is clear.

"If traditional desk jobs don’t appeal to you and you’re inclined towards a trade, then pursue an apprenticeship, have a go on the tools and just do it."

With calls for more women to join the construction sector, there has never been a better time to study a trade with TAFE Queensland.