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Geraldton’s Jessica Jones one of 10 women nationally recognised in apprenticeship, $10k Bunnings Trade award

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Jessica Jones is one of 10 women nationally to win the inagural Bunnings Trade Women in Apprenticeship Award.
Camera IconJessica Jones is one of 10 women nationally to win the inagural Bunnings Trade Women in Apprenticeship Award. Credit: Hopkinson Painting

A Geraldton woman has won a national apprenticeship award in a new initiative recognising the underrepresentation of women in trades and construction industries and helping them in the early stages of their career.

Bunnings Trade selected 10 women across Australia who are passionate apprentices and a standout in their field for the inaugural Women in Apprenticeships Award.

Geraldton’s Jessica Jones, 27, is an apprentice painter and was the first WA winner, taking home $7000 in Bunnings gift cards, $1500 in Hard Yakka products and a 12-month membership to the National Association of Women in Construction with a personal mentor.

Ms Jones’ employer Hopkinson Painting also received $1000 in Bunnings gift cards and $500 in Hard Yakka products.

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The initiative aims to support women in trade achieve better gender equality and foster a more inclusive and diverse industry, with Australian Bureau of Statistics data revealing only 2 per cent of the construction industry are women on the tools.

“A grant like this is massive as an apprentice on a lower wage to increase my knowledge and skills, it gives me the freedom to purchase tools and products and the mentor program will help me through my apprenticeship and make the world of difference,” Ms Jones said.

Painting apprentice Jessica Jones wins the Bunnings Trade Women in Apprenticeship award.
Camera IconPainting apprentice Jessica Jones wins the Bunnings Trade Women in Apprenticeship award. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

Deciding to take up an apprenticeship after her application to the WA Police Force was unsuccessful, Ms Jones encouraged other women to give the work a go, especially if they’re focused on keeping fit and healthy.

“Most trades will be very physically demanding, but don’t let that turn you away. Strength will come with experience and if you like to challenge yourself and enjoy putting in the work then it’s worth it,” she said.

“It is scary jumping into a trade when it’s still such a heavily male-dominated world, but I’m seeing a massive increase in mature age women choosing to enter into apprenticeships.

“As women we have so much to offer in these roles, a fresh new look. It’s an exciting time.”

Hopkinson Painting owner Michael Hopkinson said Ms Jones has shown exceptional enthusiasm since day one.

“She is constantly asking questions and making notes daily in regard to what all the different surfaces of homes and buildings are called, what products we are using and why we are using the products,” he said.

“Her attention to detail and dedication to her work are evident in the finishes she achieves.”

Submissions were judged by a panel of Bunnings team members and industry influencers, awarding apprentice carpenters and plumbers, a tiler, cabinet maker, mechanic, landscaper and an electrician.

Bunnings Geraldton complex manager Rose Nathan said the team enjoyed celebrating and presenting Ms Jones with the award at the well-loved trade barbeque.

“The award provided Jessica with a support pack worth over $10,000 that we hope will offer some valuable resources to help further her painting career,” she said.

Painting apprentice Jessica Jones wins the Bunnings Trade Women in Apprenticeship award.
Camera IconPainting apprentice Jessica Jones wins the Bunnings Trade Women in Apprenticeship award. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

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