Lady tradies work to promote great career options for others

Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) women at conference in USA
Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) women at conference in USA

CAMILLE Agerbeek says it's all about persistence to get where you want to be in your career - especially when it comes to being a tradeswoman.

The mechanical fitter/rigger, who works in the Central Queensland coal mining industry, is showing women that working in a trade is a great option for a career.

Camille recently returned from a trip to the US where she met other women who worked in trades and were just as eager to get more women involved in this career path.

The global tradeswomen's conference had a theme of "staying in and staying strong", and provided workshops for women on issues in the building and construction industry, including how to hold presentations and even looked into how toxicity is dealt with around the world.

"Because I work in the coal mining industry I wanted to see where the US was with the issue of toxicity," Camille said.

"What I did learn from that workshop was that we are way ahead of the US when it comes to OH&S in many aspects."

Not only was Camille learning, the 46-year-old was teaching others.


In Australia there are just over 5000 tradeswomen

Salt (Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen) has over 1000 members including internationally

Camille and six other women from the not-for-profit organisation Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) gave a presentation on how they are encouraging women and girls to consider a career in a trade.

Over the past 24 months, SALT have held 44 workshops in 38 locations around the country, showing young girls and women everything from how to break into the industry to using tools.

"The workshops give women the opportunity to think about a trade; but we're not just teaching them basic hand-tool skills, but life skills as well," Camille said.

After explaining what SALT is achieving in Australia, Camille is hoping it'll inspire other tradeswomen worldwide to develop their own organisations.

Camille has also brainstormed with tradeswomen on how they can help other women around the world who work in building and construction.

One of the outcomes of the conference will see Camille lead a venture that will help women builders in South America and other countries in the Pacific region.

"The women in South America wear thongs and dresses when they build," Camille said.

The organisation, teamed with tradeswomen in America, is working together to donate excess work clothes and gear to the women to assist them in their own safety.

Camille, who started out as a motor mechanic apprentice 28 years ago, is eager to pass her knowledge and life experience onto others.

"I've had a lot of knockbacks in my life, but you'll always have rejection and people who think you shouldn't be there, but persistence is so important," Camille said.

"If women are looking to get into the industry, get work experience; and if you really want it, never give up."

Topics:  careers mining tradies

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