HAPPY WORKER: Apprentice painter Sascha Schofield with her father and boss Paul Schofield.
HAPPY WORKER: Apprentice painter Sascha Schofield with her father and boss Paul Schofield. Adam Hourigan Photography

Painting apprentice brushes past gender barriers

WHEN Lyn Hopwood co-ordinated a program called Tradeswomen on the Move, she used to travel to schools across Australia with female builders and helicopter technicians, to show girls anything was possible and try to remove barriers to traditionally male- dominated industries.

It was a pleasant surprise when Ms Hopwood found the painter she hired to paint her apartment in Grafton had his daughter as an apprentice.

But for Sascha Schofield, she wasn't breaking gender stereotypes, she was just doing something she loved.

"I enjoy coming to work, I really like it," Ms Schofield said.

"I didn't even know if I would like it at the start. I left school and got into it with dad and then after a while I found that I loved it," she said.

"I just got into it as something to do, and then I found I actually really enjoyed it."

Ms Schofield has been painting with her father and boss Paul for two-and-a-half years, and said she took a lot of pride in her work.

"You work on a job, and then after you finish it's like an artwork, you've got something to look at," she said.

"It's rewarding to look back at what you've done, and people are always really grateful.

"I'd rather do this than sit in an office."

Mr Schofield said in his 30 years of painting, he was seeing more females take up roles in traditionally male-dominated trades.

"I've seen some now, and 30 years ago it was never a thing," he said.

"Definitely it's getting better, but there's probably not enough females.

"But I've never really thought about it as much of a thing because I've always had a lot of girls working with me.

"I'd say I've always had 50-50 females and males as offsiders helping me, and I mainly prefer the females because they're neater and have great attention to detail."

Ms Schofield she would encourage any girls interested in taking up a trade to not be put off.

"I think that girls should do it, if it's something they want to do then they should just do it," she said.

"Just because it's a male-dominated industry, doesn't mean girls can't do it."



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