Recent years have been a whirlwind for 34-old-year old St Albans trailblazer Chhunly Taing.
She started working in building in her late 20s, only began a trade four years ago and was named Victorian Apprentice of the Year last week (13 September).
Ms Taing said she was “ecstatic” about winning.
“I started in the construction industry late,” she said.
“I was offered an apprenticeship.
“Age wasn’t ever a factor.”
Ms Taing, who worked jobs including vegetable picking and retail before building, said she “felt at home” in the construction industry.
“I’ve found my calling,” she said.
Ms Taing encouraged other women to follow her.
“Give it a go,” she said.
“Just go for it. There are heaps of girls in the industry…willing to help other women out.”
She said there were also many men in the industry with daughters and they understood the importance of having women in trades.
Ms Taing said her rise in the construction industry started when she was working as a cleaner on the Tunnel project and her male boss said she should aim higher.
The company then offered her an apprenticeship.
Ms Taing is now a leading hand at the Tunnel project in charge of 30 workers, all but three of whom are men.
Having completed Holmesglen Institute’s Certificate III in Civil Construction last year, she is now doing her certificate 4 .
Ms Taing beat another woman and a man to win apprentice of the year at the 68th Victorian Training Awards. The Australian Apprentice of the Year will be announced on November 18.