I’ve you’ve driven through Emu Plains recently, you may have seen a new yellow sign pop up along the Great Western Highway.
Behind it is the home of Woodchix – a brand new foundation aiming to build confidence in women so they can truly do it all themselves.
Gill Enterkin, Founder and Head Woodchick, started Woodchix after wrapping up her time as a Technical Applied Studies (TAS) teacher, specialising in woodwork for over 20 years.
The foundation originally began as a way for her to use her skills as an educator in a new way, instead passing on her expertise to women so they can learn anything ranging from hanging a picture hook to using hand tools and drills.
“I’ve got all this experience to pass on and to assist women in gaining their confidence, and being able to look after themselves and feeling good that they can, that they don’t necessarily have to call a male in,” she said.
Though she was hoping to garner some positive attention, Enterkin admits she was shocked at how quickly the word spread in the community.
“When I started advertising in November last year on Facebook, by Christmas I had 25,000 people having looked at it,” she said.
It was from here that her business grew again before she had even started, expanding on the idea of teaching the teachers who, although are not trained in woodwork, are being forced to cover these classes due to shortages.
“I had teachers saying, ‘Do you train teachers?’ because I had on the website that I’d taught for 20 years, so I’m getting a lot of teachers enquiring,” she said.
In addition to teachers, Enterkin said she’s also building the next generation of tradies, aiming to use her experience to get young women into apprenticeships.
Having only just started running workshops, Enterkin said she’s been thrilled with the positive reviews and the partnerships she’s developed with a number of organisations already, including Nepean Community College.
With these workshops ranging from specific projects to broader time slots, Enterkin is encouraging beginners to try something new.
“You can come and do a Thursday afternoon or a Saturday afternoon, and just say ‘I don’t know anything’, and I’ll start you off on a Year 8 or Year 9 project, like a basic box, and then we go into the harder joineries,” she said.
For the bigger jobs you can’t do yourself, Enterkin said she’s still all about supporting women.
“I would like to eventually get a board up where all the women tradies’ business cards are, so that people can find out who the female tradies are in the area,” she said.
“People just don’t like males in their house sometimes, and that’s fair enough!”
For more information, visit woodchix.au.
Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.