TAFE NSW Nowra student and mother of two, Naomi White, has swapped a career building foundations for better mental health, to a career building houses.
In a move that surprised those around her, Ms White, 29, left a psychology degree at university to strap on a tool belt and become a carpenter.
While a study of 12 million Australian workers, by the Foundation for Young Australians, showed multiple career changes are set to become the norm, Ms White’s switch could be considered anything but the norm.
“I began studying psychology at university because I had a passion for helping people with mental health issues,” Ms White said.
“I wanted to understand it more, but with some insight into how the industry worked I became disillusioned.
“In my view, medicating people is a bit of a Band-Aid fix. Even though I would have loved to have become someone who could change that, I knew I would walk away from work every day feeling frustrated.”
After leaving psychology, Ms White worked briefly with her brother who is a builder.
“The only time I had really felt happy walking away from a day at work, was when I’d worked with my brother building houses,” Ms White said.
Keen to gain some skills and qualifications in the trade, she secured an apprenticeship with Shoalhaven building company, Strongbuild.
Ms White is now in her second year at TAFE NSW Nowra studying a Certificate III in Carpentry.
“I enjoy taking the skills I learn at TAFE NSW and applying them to what I’m doing at work on the job site,” she said.
Ms White also says the issue of being a woman in a traditionally-male industry hasn’t really been an issue.
“It’s unexpected that I’m a builder. People can doubt you if they haven’t seen what you can do,” Ms White said.
“There are probably a lot of women who might not want to do this job. It can be dirty and you’re around men all day, but for those who do, it’s very satisfying.
“I go home physically tired, but mentally I feel great. I’m in a career I love and I have no regrets.”
With more than 1200 courses and access to more than 25,000 employers, TAFE NSW can help with career change.
[colored_box color=”yellow”] To find out what courses are on offer visit http://www.tafensw.com.au [/colored_box]