TRADIE LADY CLUB SUPPORTING WOMEN IN TRADES
Blue collared industries in Australia are witnessing a surge in female tradies. But not only are women getting their hands dirty – they are also making bank off their social media influencing. And the Melbourne based Tradie Lady Club is helping them navigate the heavily male dominated industry.
The Australian construction industry generates over $360 billion in annual revenue and produces 9% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee. And with a projected annual growth rate of 2.4% over the next five years, women are leaping at the opportunity to gain what they can from the industry.
But depending on your chosen trade, full-time junior 1st year apprentices can expect to make just $12 to $14 an hour, according to Fair Work. Adult apprentices (aged over 21) can expect to make just $20.33 (minimum wage) to $25 an hour.
So now more and more business savvy female tradies are discovering the only way out of what finance chads call “financial cancer” is to generate multiple streams of income. And social media seems to be the key.
FEMALE TRADIE INFLUENCERS
Prominent female tradie influencer, founder of the Tradie Lady Club and mother to be Stefanie Apostolidis, aka “Melbourne Chippy Chick,” hopes to inspire other female tradies to follow her lead.
Boasting over 150,000 Instagram followers, Melbourne Chippy Chick entered the industry after spending five years working a retail office job. Stef told CONTX Media that she grew up very close with her father. Saying “I was raised with my dad on his work sites, so I generated an interest in his work (carpentry).” But after realising she was unhappy working a ‘cliché’ nine to five – she decided to make a change.
Stef highlighted that it wasn’t easy to begin with, saying: “The first week at trade school was scary. No one sat near me and kept their distance and I felt really out of place… On site I was overlooked by other tradies, I wasn’t confident and felt out of place.”
But now, after starting from the ground up, Stef is running and managing “domestic building and construction sites” across Melbourne. With “ease, authority and confidence,” she says.
Through advertising, gaining brand endorsements and using affiliate marketing for Australian trade businesses like Bowens Timber and SafeStyle Safety Glasses, Stef has also successfully monetised her social media following.
“Promoting your trade skills through Instagram has really boomed, as I think it has become a platform to inspire, grow your business/brand and your profile,” she said.
TRADIE LADY CLUB
Starting as a small group of female tradie influencers, the Tradie Lady Club has gained attention from some of Australia’s largest networks; A Current Affair, Channel Nine News and Sunrise. Stef said being featured on these platforms has “really boosted awareness of females in the trade and also got a few companies to be featured on The Block.”
Used by many women to share concerns and gain industry advice, the organisation has become an international (Australia and New Zealand) network. And as the Tradie Lady Club continue spreading their wings across the world, Stef’s goal is to continue helping women navigate the industry.
From electricians and carpenters to construction workers and automotive spray painters, female participation in the trades has more than doubled in Australia over the last decade. However, women still make up just a fraction of the Australian blue collared workforce.
Stef believes this is because trades are “very physically demanding and it only suits some women.” Adding “It’s very challenging mentally and physically, so it might not attract the amount of women to [eventually] get to the 50/50 mark.”
Despite this, women tradies are continuing to make positive changes in the industry by showcasing their competence levels and achievements. And according to Stef, the best way to support women in trades – right now – is to get behind the Tradie Lady Club, today.