People's Choice 2021 Finalist - Jessica Drady

Apprentice of the Year finalist

How VET helped Jessica build her dream career

Jessica DradyJessica Drady
VET Course: Certificate III in Carpentry
Trained by: TAFE NSW
Employed by: Bogan Shire Council
Region: Western NSW Region

“I’ve always dreamt of being part of an industry that would allow me to support others in building their dreams alongside mine. It will be an honour to leave my footprint on this planet through sustainable building. I want to create a future for my kids while supporting other young people to achieve their dreams through VET.”

Jessica has always admired the highly skilled trade of carpentry. However, she never thought a career in construction would be possible as ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ – she’d never seen a woman in the trade.

But Jessica’s calling was strong. When she was employed as an apprentice by the Bogan Shire Council and enrolled in a Certificate III in Carpentry at TAFE NSW, she was ready to take up the challenge.  

“While I’m the only female carpenter in my entire township, VET has been great for me - I’ve never felt alone,” says Jessica. “The quality of my training has been exceptional. I’ve been lucky to have great teachers support me to pursue my dreams.”

Jessica loves seeing buildings come together and looking back on the finished product knowing she had a hand in building it.

“I want to support other females to follow their dreams in carpentry. It’s a big learning curve. There are so many highs and lows. My apprenticeship journey has inspired me to become a business owner. It’s showed me I should reach for the stars because, if you’re committed, anything and everything is possible.”

“I’ve learned to visualise both the big picture and the individual steps required to achieve the final result,” says Jessica. “I’ve gained so much confidence. I used to question myself, but now I trust my ideas and believe in my abilities.”

Trevor Waterhouse, Jessica’s supervisor at Bogan Shire Council says Jessica is recognised in their community as one of the best in the business.

“Jessica is a high achiever,” says Trevor. “She completed her Certificate III as a mature age learner in a male-dominated trade. This young mother’s determination to succeed is her driving force. We can rely on Jessica and know the job will be done on time, to the highest standard.”

Winning the Master Builders Association Apprentice of the Year Award was a highlight of Jessica’s apprenticeship journey.

NSW Training Awards - People's Choice Finalist - Jessica Drady

“I’m so proud of everything I’ve achieved,” says Jessica. “I’ve risen to every challenge, from being the only female in a male workforce, being pregnant and having to ‘keep up with the guys,’ and completing this program while supporting two young children. I have proved to myself and everyone else that I can do this.”

Passionate about future generations, Jessica has represented the shire at her local high school, talking about careers and promoting vocational training.

Jessica is also a volunteer for Fire and Rescue NSW and enjoys helping her partner on their farm. She has begun a new chapter in her life by taking steps towards starting her own all-girls carpentry business – ‘The Pink Chippy.’

“I want to support other females to follow their dreams in carpentry. It’s a big learning curve. There are so many highs and lows. My apprenticeship journey has inspired me to become a business owner. It’s showed me I should reach for the stars because, if you’re committed, anything and everything is possible.”


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2021 NSW Training Awards - People’s Choice Award Voting Terms and Conditions

  • Use of the voting service constitutes agreement with these Terms and Conditions.
  • Online voting will open at 9:00 a.m. EST on Monday 30 August and closes at 5:00 p.m. EST Monday 27 September 2021.
  • Online voting is limited to one vote per person, per category.
  • An online vote cannot be withdrawn after it has been submitted.
  • Online votes may be subject to system checks to ensure authenticity and combat fraudulent voting.
  • Training Services NSW reserves the right to review and remove any votes if it has reasonable grounds to suspect that fraudulent voting has occurred or if it considers there has been any attempt to skew poll results.
  • Winners of the People’s Choice Awards will be announced during the NSW Training Awards Facebook LIVE event commencing 4:30pm Saturday 9 October 2021.
  • The Department’s determination on the winner of the People’s Choice Award in each category is final.
Page last updated: 30 August 2021