Constructing Community
Local builder Brie Cook is constructing a support network for women tradies. Photo Supplied

A young builder is laying a foundation of support for women in trades in Cromwell.

She’s also developed a way for local women tradies to open the wide world of trades to other women.

Brie Cook was named Central Otago Apprentice of the Year in 2021. She says being successful as a tradie is less about whether you’re male or female – more about the satisfaction of making and creating. And there’s always work for a good tradie.

“No matter what happens in the world, we need people to build houses, keep the lights on, and the water flowing,” she says. 

“Trades are a great career path for women – there’s an amazing sense of pride when you see a home or building in your community you were part of creating, you get paid while you learn, and once you’re qualified there’s a whole career path if you want it.”

Brie got to know other women tradies in and around Cromwell. She created ‘Constructing Community’, a community of support for women in trades, and came up with a way to encourage local women of all ages to get into trades. 

Brie has put together a six-week programme for women of any age that will introduce trades from building to welding, prosthetics to plumbing, driving to roading – and local women across more than ten different trades are the presenters.

The best thing – it’s all free, thanks to the support of Cromwell ITM and local people volunteering their time.

“I’ve also designed a cool project that will run over the six nights, giving the women a chance to try different tools and techniques.”

Brie has started a Facebook page, ‘Constructing Community’, that will give information and updates on the six nights of trades, answer women’s questions and profile women tradies in the Cromwell area.