Southern builder joins growing ranks of female tradies

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Southern builder joins growing ranks of female tradies
Builder Becky Stenson, left, and Black Robin Equity director Jasmine Yao are both women taking big steps forward in their male-dominated industries.

Dress shoes are being swapped for work boots as more women take up growing opportunities to become tradies. South Island builder Becky Stenson recently joined the increasing number of women taking the leap into the construction world.

British-born builder Becky Stenson was feeling unfulfilled by her previous job of cleaning caravans, so turned to the internet to find her feet in the working world. It was there that she stumbled across a job advertisement for a hammer hand at Hector Egger.

Wanting to give a new career a go she applied for the role and got it, starting as a hammer hand at Hector Egger in the Cromwell-based, on-site team. The 29-year-old went from being apprehensive about starting a career in a male-dominated industry, to loving her job and claiming it was “the best decision I ever made”.

A bit apprehensive

“When I got the job I was a bit apprehensive because I was starting a trade where there were loads of men and I didn’t know how they were going to react,” Stenson says.

“But everyone at Hector Egger has been so lovely and supportive. It’s like a big family,” she says. “Even when there are other men on site from other companies, they are always lovely to me. There’s not really any prejudice.

“Some females might think, ‘oh no, I’m going into the trades and the men won’t accept me’, but it’s not like that.”

Stenson is now well into her building apprenticeship and is “absolutely loving” working on high-end boutique projects, such as the McKenzies Shute property development at Jack’s Point in Queenstown.

“It’s great fun — you get to tick things off and do things you’ve never done before. I just love being on site, in the fresh air, learning new things every day. Especially building these beautiful houses. “Once you put them together you just feel so proud,” she says.

Developing the McKenzies Shute project is Black Robin Equity. Director Jasmine Yao says she is excited to see more women in the industry.

“I was just really stoked to see a female on site — it was the first thing I noticed when I got there. She was right there in the thick of it, doing great work on the houses,” Yao says.

“I think it’s fantastic that Hector Egger is willing to take on a woman who didn’t have a prior background in the industry, educate her and give her the tools and support to get the certificates and qualifications she needs.

“We definitely need to see more women in the property industry, whether that’s on the ground or behind the scenes. It’s great to see it already happening more and more.”

Even distribution of men and women

Hector Egger directors Tristan Franklin and Stephan Mausli said one of their key objectives when setting up the New Zealand business was to have an even distribution of men and women working across all of the roles.

“This has been harder to achieve than first thought, but we are hoping this will change in the future,” Franklin says.

“A business like Hector Egger that combines the latest factory-based construction technology with on-site installation and delivery, offers great opportunities for men and women of all ages and experience to enter the construction industry.

“It has been fantastic to watch Becky thrive in her new career, and she, along with our other talented female team members, make us a much better business for their involvement.

Inspirational and positive role model

“We have no doubt that inspirational and positive role models like Becky will only help to increase the number of women entering the construction industry.”

Stenson has some words of advice for women interested in joining the tradie lifestyle.

“Don’t be scared to try new things. Don’t be afraid that just because it’s a male-dominated industry you can’t enter it, because of course you can. Anyone can do it — you just need the can-do attitude,” she says.

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