New breed of tradies - and they're ladies

21:54, Aug 01 2014
Mikayla Timms
HARD WORK: Mikayla Timms at work at the Waikuku Surf Club.

After 10 years in hospitality, Tammi Stoddart was ready for a change of scene.

All it took for the Canterbury 26-year-old to try her hand at roofing was a push from a customer.

He seemed to enjoy his work so much that Stoddart asked if he would take her on - and he did.

Tammi Stoddart
ROOFER IN TRAINING: A vegan who rarely drinks, Tammi Stoddart fits in well with her all-male workmates.

She has been a roofer since February and is working towards a qualification.

Women in the trades are few and far between, but that is changing.

As the Canterbury rebuild progresses, demand for labour and skilled employees is climbing and women are being encouraged to step up.


Vacancies in skilled labour roles are up almost 12 per cent in Canterbury and the average industry pay is rising. Wages in construction employment have gone up 3 per cent in the last year.

Nationally, Department of Labour figures show the number of single mothers in employment is the second highest it has been in 20 years.

Stoddart owned her own home, was a vegan and rarely drank.

Despite this, she fitted in with her all-male work team and would not have it any other way.

"The guys I work with are just really passionate about what they do," she said.

"I needed a challenge, and I found it."

Stoddart liked the physicality of her job, the hours and, when she was qualified, the good pay.

"I don't have to be laying tiles for the rest of my life.

"I could get into the business or management side of things. Anything really, she said.

Painter Mikayla Timms also met her boss when she was working in hospitality.

She has been a painter for two years and takes genuine pride in her work.

There was nothing more satisfying than turning over a freshly painted house to a happy customer, she said.

For both Stoddart and Timms, the reward of a hard day's work and the promise of a solid qualification and trade was more than enough to keep them interested.

The Press