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Ebony Antonio shines a light on females in construction

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For Fremantle Docker and Electrician Ebony Antonio, a career as a tradie made perfect sense and she’s hoping other women will be inspired enough by her story to also join the ranks.

Like many teenagers, Ebony Antonio had no idea of what she wanted to do and was “living in the moment” when she finished school.

Then she started working for her Uncle’s company concreting and pressure cleaning and fell in love with the idea of being a tradie.

And it’s an idea she says she’s very glad she followed through with, now that she’s finished her four year electrical apprenticeship and is happily on the tools.

Ebony finished her apprenticeship two years ago and said she has learnt so much since she finished it. But she still remembers her first day on the job like it was yesterday.

“When I finished school I was playing a lot of basketball, having fun, but my parents were keen for me to choose a career pathway, so I got a casual job at Target and then started work for my Uncle’s company and I absolutely loved it,” she said.

“I knew I always wanted a job where I was outside instead of behind a desk at an office, so a trade made perfect sense.

“Now that I’ve finished my apprenticeship, being an electrician also works really well with football, I’m usually finished by 3pm, so it leaves me enough time to train and also be a part of the club.”

Ebony finished her apprenticeship two years ago and said she has learnt so much since she finished it. But she still remembers her first day on the job like it was yesterday.

“To be honest I was really nervous, its daunting starting something new, and I didn’t know what to expect and how the guys on the job would treat me,” she said.

“But I was really lucky, because I was a mature-age apprentice, the guys weren’t too much older than me and they were totally comfortable with having a woman on the job and really generous with their time.

“As soon as that first week ended, I knew I was in the right place.”

Ebony said she lives by her Dad’s mantra of “if you have a good worth ethic and you show initiative you’ll fit in anywhere” and it has served her well in both her trade and sporting careers.

“In both instances I knew I had a lot to learn and I just got in, showed initiative and worked hard. I think if you do that you can really learn anything you put your mind too,” Ebony said.

“Just like anything you have to get to know people’s personalities, and read their body language. There will be people you really click with and some you don’t, but if you can all respect each other, then you’ll work together to become a strong team.”

She said her advice to women considering a trade was to “dive right in” and help inspire young women of the next generation.

“Don’t be afraid to stand tall and prove to yourself and your friends and family that you can make it in a male dominated industry,” she said.

“In the future, I’d love to see more female CEOs in the construction industry, I think women have natural leadership skills, we show a lot of initiative and have common sense in spades, so I’d love to see that shift for the next generation, to have those female role models in the industry to look up to.

“So many more women are taking up trades, but we’re still outnumbered, there’s only 3% of female trade apprentices in WA and I’d love to see that rise to at least 15%. I’m really passionate, about it and I think if you have a trade behind you, the world really is your oyster.

“I’m really proud of breaking down the barriers of a male dominated industry and I’m a real advocate for getting more girls to take up a trade and break down that old-fashioned stigma around it. We need more girls in the construction industry.

“If you believe in yourself, anything is possible.”

If you'd like more information on pathways to become electrician, or any other trade, contact one of our Industry Training Advisors today

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Construction Training Fund acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land throughout Western Australia and pay our respect to the Elders both past and present. We thank them for their ongoing custodianship of the lands and waters, and celebrate their rich culture of art, song, dance, language, and stories.