UPSKILL: One group who took part in the SkillWomen workshop.
UPSKILL: One group who took part in the SkillWomen workshop.

Tools charged with empowering women

SISTERS have learnt to do it for themselves at hand and power tools workshops just for women.

On the weekend of March 3-4, Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) visited Pomona as part of the SkillWomen tour to educate and train about 50 women in an area dominated by men.

Artist Bar Graham, from Tinbeerwah, said the workshop exceeded her expectations.

"I honestly wanted to learn how to use a drill,” Ms Graham said.

"I want to hang art around my house but my husband won't drill holes in the walls for me - he doesn't like putting holes in the walls.

"It turned out to be a lot more than that. It was empowering.”

Lindsay Johansen and her 10-year-old daughter, Ciaran, attended the workshop, and said it was "inspiring and fear busting”.

"Both Ciaran and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves,” Ms Johansen said.

"(I) had never lifted a power drill in my life before then, let alone operated a jigsaw or drop saw.

"I was astounded at the resources made available to us on the day, terrific stories and hands on practical skills.”

The SkillWomen tour has delivered workshops to girls and women in more than 160 schools and communities throughout New South Wales, Victoria and Canberra with its mobile workshop.

The Pomona sessions were among the first to be brought to Queensland.

Female tradeswomen from group She Can Sunshine Coast attended the weekend to observe, hoping to recruit new members and gauge interest in starting up a local women's shed.

She Can coordinator Sasha Giffard said she was impressed by the focus on health and safety, and how quickly the participants' confidence grew.

"It was just amazing. The workshop was so organised and safety conscious,” Ms Giffard said.

"It's been something in the domain of men for a long time. Just the excitement of being able to do something they've always had to ask their brother or husband to do.

"A lot of them said 'I just want to do it for me, to know I can do this', then realising 'hey, this isn't difficult'.”