Nailing the Construction Trade

Amy Sirc has swapped a fashion career for her passion for the building and construction trade.

An advocate of the organisation SALT (Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen), 30-year-old Ms Sirc is leading the way for women to embrace non-traditional careers in the trades industry.

Ms Sirc started her TAFE NSW studies almost a decade ago with a Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology where she learned pattern-making and tailoring garments from scratch.

Now working on holiday cabins at TAFE NSW Wollongong as part of the Certificate II in Construction pathway course, Ms Sirc is delighted her fashion skills are transferable across the carpentry trade.

“My experiences in garment-making have helped me with an attention-to-detail when I’m constructing the cabins,” she said. “It’s also allowed me to think ahead, which is really useful. I think the carpentry course is fantastic for young students. It’s such a great experience to build a small home with the assurance of having a teacher supporting you.”

Ms Sirc is also working as a part-time apprentice carpenter in Gerroa with builder Martin Keats. And if that isn’t enough, she received the Master Builders Australia Award for Excellence in Training for Bricklaying in May this year as part of her Certificate III in Bricklaying she is studying at night.

“I see the value in knowing how to do as many things on site as possible,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to do the two courses at the same time. In the future, I won’t have to rely on a brickie to do the small jobs. I want to provide the best quality service to the community that I can.”

Local Shoalhaven and Illawarra builder Martin Keats was sold on Ms Sirc’s enthusiasm for the industry within a few days of having her on-site.

“Amy is extremely attentive and probably the most enthusiastic employee I have come across,” he said. “It was her inquisitive nature to ask plenty of the right questions, just like I did. She did all the right things to get herself an apprenticeship. There’s so much to learn in the building industry.”

“The pre-apprenticeship course gives Amy some hands-on experience with the bonus of theory. There should be more encouragement for female representation in the building industry.”