Meet Grace: An Inspiration for Young Women in Construction

March 7, 2024

As we move towards a greater gender balance in the traditionally male-dominated construction industry, Paynters is committed to leading charge and engaging with our next generation.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we took a moment to sit down with one of our youngest, yet fiercely determined employees – Grace. 👷‍♀️

When it came to Grace’s initiation to the industry, the stars aligned – right place, right time!

As a year 10 student at William Ross SHS, Grace participated in Paynters all-female Try’A Trade at Bohle TAFE mid 2023.  Inspired by her family, it was there that she expressed her keen interest in construction to Site Manager Craig, which led to the invaluable opportunity of a week’s work experience.

Impressed by Grace’s work ethic, Paynters offered her a school-based traineeship, and has since come full circle, now undertaking a Certificate II in Civil Construction and her traineeship on the Bohle TAFE project.

Craig (Site Manager)

Craig recalls, “During the Try’A Trade event, Grace approached me full of determination and enthusiasm, eager to gain more experience on site. Now, she works with us once a week on the Bohle TAFE project, bringing fresh perspectives, whilst remaining eager to learn.

I genuinely believe that a diverse workforce enhances outcomes for everyone. It’s so important for the construction industry as a whole to continue to inspire the inclusion of females and strive for a more equitable future.”

Grace is a true example of how seizing opportunities and advocating for yourself can pave the way for success in a male-dominated field.

We hope Grace’s story serves as an inspiration for other young women interested in pursuing careers in construction and are immensely proud to have her part of the Paynters family.

What do other people think about you working in construction?

“I’m lucky to have a lot of support from teachers and staff at school, home and my friends. A lot of the boys say I shouldn’t work in construction because I’m a girl.

One teacher who has always been incredibly supportive has told me he thinks what I’m doing is fantastic and loves that I have the opportunity to do what I’m wanting to do, whilst being able to break gender stereotypes and inspire young girls who want a career in construction regardless of others opinions. He also gives me credit for being able to work in a male dominated field as a young girl.”

What do you love about being a School-Based Trainee?

“I love being able to experience a little bit of everything. I also enjoy the social aspect of the job – being able to talk to all these people that I never would have met if it hadn’t been for my work experience.  I love being able to work with the electricians because I’ve wanted to be one since I was 5 years old.”

What have you learnt so far?

“I have learnt lots of things so far. Each day I get paired with a different trade, so I get to learn a little bit of everything – every day is unique.”

Grace’s dad Ryan, has been a supporter/big advocator for his daughter to pursue her passion, and get hands on experience in the industry. 

We asked him for his thoughts on the opportunity Grace has with Paynters –

As someone who has been in the construction industry for 20 odd years, I know how hard it is for kids to be able to get a foot into the industry (especially females).

Growing up on acreage, I would always include Grace, and help her learn what different tools were.  Grace’s interest in what I was doing grew, and if I needed something she was happy to be my go-to.  I have asked her to get me a left-handed screwdriver on the occasion (ha!).

I am so proud of Grace for the opportunity she has been given and what she has accomplished.  It’s nice to see the industry becoming more inclusive, and I can’t wait to see where this takes her.

And, final thoughts from Grace:

What advice do you have for other young girls wanting a career in construction?

“If you want to do something, go for it. If it doesn’t work out you can always say you tried, and if it does – you’ll have an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment.”

Taylah (HSEQ Cadet) & Grace
Bohle TAFE site team – Grace, Craig, Taylah & Charles (left to right)