When Vanessa Grady finished school, she never imagined she would enter the construction industry and drive huge machinery across NSW.
“I never thought I’d be in this field. I was previously a dental nurse, so getting behind the wheel of truck was not on my to-do list,” she says.
Ms Grady is part of the small group of women who make up 13 per cent of the building and construction industry’s workforce.
Three years ago she started in traffic control and now operates large machinery, such as the roller.
“After two years on the ground, I thought I want to get in the roller, I want to drive the trucks,” she says.
So, with her boss’s assistance, she got a truck license and is now employed to construct roads across NSW.
Starting off as traffic controllers
For 28 years Phil Burns has been driving machinery in the civil engineering industry, working in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Middle East.
The chief operations officer for RoadWorx in Kembla Grange advocates for females on staff and says that over the past five years, there has been an influx of female traffic controllers.
“We have three women now who started in traffic control,” Mr Burns says.
“They start out on the roads and then see what else is happening, and like Vanessa, they ask to have a go.”
Mr Burns says they are genuinely good operators.
“They operate the vehicles, the equipment, the plant and they are doing the labour side too.
“Don’t be scared to let your kids have a go in the construction industry, they might just enjoy it.”