Looking for something?

In Standard

My Trade Story with Bec Sparky

My Trade Story with Bec Sparky

Earlier this month we looked at how to become an apprentice carpenter, but that is not the only trade in the construction industry. As you know, we are big supporters of women in trades, and with that in mind, I have asked our resident electrician Bec Sparky to share her trade story. I’d like to say, before you read Bec’s story, what an amazingly supportive husband she has. What a wonderful world we could live in if we were all prepared to treat women equally like Bec’s husband.

My Trade Story with Electrician Bec Sparky

-81496833364424EEE

Growing up I always considered myself a tomboy. My favourite thing to do on a weekend was to watch Dad pottering about doing handyman jobs or fixing the car while my sister played inside with her dolls or colouring books.
When it came to the end of high school I assumed I would enter a career that I was meant to as a woman. I started out in Nursing, after a few years I quit. I went to reception and administrative work, and after a few years quit. I finally found what I thought was my dream job, working with children in a pre-school.
During this time I met my awesome husband Wayne who is an electrician. To help him out I would go to work with him on the weekends. I absolutely loved it and I enjoyed the work so much that I suggested to him that I undertake it full time. It took 6 months of insisting that I wanted to do my Electrical apprenticeship and Wayne, seeing how committed I was to the idea, finally relented. He contacted the company he was subcontracting to let them know that his sole trader business would be changing to a partnership and that I would be embarking on my apprenticeship. No sooner had the words left his mouth than the director of this large Electrical Company said “No women on site. I won’t have any women on my sites. It’s too hard. I know what I am saying is illegal but I don’t care, I won’t have any chicks”.
Wayne knowing how committed I was to the career move told them that he would be finishing up the large job he was running and leaving to give me the opportunity that I craved. And so the partnership began. We quickly found work subcontracting to other companies doing shop fit-outs, Defence work at the RAAF Base in Richmond, major construction sites in the city, oval lighting and even some fire detection work.
Meanwhile I was cruising through TAFE thoroughly enjoying myself. I did strike a few issues being a 27 year old Woman in a class full of 18 year old boys. There were nicknames issued “Bookworm” etc and the innuendos flew when I received good grades. But by 3rd year they were all sitting up the front with me getting study tips as I was blitzing the course and they were barely scraping through if not failing. The teasing became respect. I did so well at TAFE that I received several awards including; Presidents Award from Zonta 2003, Rotary Vocational Excellence Award 2004 and Western Sydney Area Apprentice of the Year in 2005. I was also the only student in the class to pass the Capstone exams first go at the end of 4th year. Keeping in mind that I was 8 months pregnant I think that was a reasonable achievement.
The past 10 years have been devoted to balancing home life, 2 amazing children, working as a tradie and promoting the industry via my YouTube channel A Brighter View with Bec Sparky. It has helped enormously having a very supportive and understanding husband he has been unbelievably flexible.
I am passionate about my being an electrician and want to not only encourage more women into electrical but, into other trades and male dominated industries as well. With such a shortage in trades we need to increase the workforce by recruiting more ladies. The main problem is that is not mainstream enough and not in the media spotlight. The more we show women, who have chosen these careers, the more it will become “normal”. Age and size is not a barrier. If a 27 year old 5’2” blonde can change vocation and become a tradie, anyone can. The amount of satisfaction you get out of a hard day’s work can’t be beat.

That’s an amazing story Bec, what strength and determination you have shown. It makes me sad to hear of the discrimination you faced early in your apprenticeship, but gives me hope that there are good people out there like your husband who understand the need for equality. I’m no tradie, but I’m not shy of a big days work with The Builder, and I agree, there is no satisfaction quite like a hard day’s work.

A Brighter View logo

I urge you to take some time to check Bec out on her website, Facebook and of course her You Tube.

 

9 Comments 2516 Views

Related Post

9 Comments

  1. Great story and nice to see chicks in trades – it’s a tough industry to break into. Those stereotypes are very well entrenched! Good on you Bec Sparky.

    1. It is tough isn’t Alix, I found it very difficult in the beginning especially if I was trying to make positive changes on site.

  2. Wow, what a fascinating, encouraging story. Can’t say I’m surprised to hear of the discrimination and sadly the comments of the Tafe boys (though as a mother of an 18yr old heads would have rolled, unacceptable). Well done Bec, and kudos to supportive husband Wayne!

    My husband is always saying to our kids, both boys and girls he’d love them to go into trades. One into each trade thanks would be most preferable;-) I joke they could then form their own company (we have several children). The girls aren’t adverse to the idea. They’re always seeing a job that needs fixing and head for the tool box

    1. I find it so disappointing that there is still such discrimination within the construction industry, though I am not surprised at all. We finally have the right balance on our sites of sub-contractors who are happy to be working with me, took us a while though.
      Glad to hear that the girls are as happy to help out as the boys, you and your husband are doing a great job!

      1. Really!? Why were the sub-contractors not happy to work with you? I find it hard to wrap me head around it. I know it happens but still.. it just don’t get it.
        To be honest re my girls, it’s the tradie boys at Tafe, the blatant sexual comments they will be subjected to that make me gulp at the thought of my beautiful girls going into trades. My 14 yr old, who is slim, 6ft and everybody says, “you should be a model’ is the most likely one to be heading that way. Yet she would get such a roasting, I confess to being hesitant. Maybe I should just have those 6 brothers of her accompany her for a few days;-)

  3. I’ve always wondered how you got in the trade Bec. I love your story and will share on my facebook page.

    1. Thank you Bec.

  4. […] do, they are often gained with the love and support of our family. Last week we shared the story of Bec Sparky and her challenging path, this week we are joined by Rebecca Senyard of The Plumbette to share […]

  5. […] I don’t have a trade story as such, like we previously shared from Rebecca Senyard, Bec Sparky or Amelia Lee, I still do have a story to tell as to how I became a business manager for our […]

Leave a Reply

Hungry for Inside Secrets on How to Give Your House A Makeover
Without Breaking The Bank?

Subscribe to The Builders Wife and Get Our Top 10 Makeover Hacks Now!
Great Work!
You'll be redirected in a second to download your free ebook!

Close