Marrickville’s Tyla Veney is carving her own path as a bespoke furniture maker, focusing on bucking the trend and turning her passion into a career in a male-dominated trade area.
The 22-year-old VERTO apprentice has started a Certificate III in Cabinet Making at Tim Noone Furniture, but prior to her sign up through VERTO, she felt she had not received good advice on how to move into the career of her dreams.
“When asking for career advice in high school, I was met with a lack of knowledge around job opportunities and career paths for cabinetry, furniture and trades in general,” Tyla said.
“I did not know there were multiple options, such as cabinetry and furniture, which both have unique pathways beyond them in terms of a career.
“If I had of known about all of the available options in school, who knows how far along I would be now.”
VERTO Chief Executive Officer, Ron Maxwell, said Tyla’s scenario was all too common, proven by a 2020 survey conducted by VERTO and Year13.
“The Females in Trades & Apprenticeships NSW Survey surveyed more than 1,000 females aged 15-24, in metropolitan and regional NSW, with the aim of understanding the attraction and retention of females into apprenticeships and trades,” Mr Maxwell said.
“Unfortunately more than three-quarters of respondents (75 per cent) indicated their schools did not position apprenticeships and trades positively for females.
“In my opinion, the career guidance programs in our schools need to seriously rethink the way trades are discussed, particularly with female students.
“There is a definite gender bias when it comes to talking about career options, and this research and Tyla’s situation demonstrates that many female students aren’t informed properly about apprenticeship pathways, and often have limited access to trade-based subjects.
“This is incredibly disappointing, not only because we want our youth to follow their passions, but also because Australia is currently suffering from a significant skills shortage.”
According to the Australian Government’s Jobs Outlook website, only two per cent of all cabinet and furniture makers in Australia are female.
Tyla encouraged other young women who are concerned about working in a male-dominated industry to look beyond the usual barriers to participation.
“Try and forget about it and just do what makes you happy, no matter what that might be,” she said.