Finding her way into a construction apprenticeship took a little side-journeying for 23-year-old mum Djodamajeerah Moran (known as DJ), but she has found her path and is thriving.

She recalls her first day at Hutchinson Builders, starting a CSQ Trade Ready (pre-employment) program:

“When I first walked into the head office at Hutchies, it was awesome because the first thing you see is Indigenous artwork and their Indigenous reception area. That automatically made me feel a lot better that they do have that representation.”

DJ is a Jagera woman from Brisbane, Bundjalung and Gidhabal woman from Northern NSW, and a Gumbaynggir woman on her dad’s side.

DJ was raised by her single mum who was pursuing a career in civil construction, something which continues to inspire DJ: “seeing her and how much she enjoyed it and the achievements she had really inspired me to get into this industry. She brought me up to be an independent woman that can do anything.”

Even with the inspirational figure of her mum, DJ recognised early that she was at a disadvantage compared to her peers, “especially growing up in New South Wales mostly the boys in the class got the apprenticeships and had that experience from their dads. I didn’t really grow up with my dad, so I didn’t get that experience.”

After leaving high school, DJ started working in hospitality and travelled the country. She then took a job in medical administration but says that “sitting behind a desk all day just kind of drove me crazy.”

DJ worked in the role while pregnant with her daughter; however, she was made redundant while on maternity leave.

Dealing with this new challenge, DJ decided to investigate a career in construction, following in the footsteps of her mother. When Hutchinson Builders got in contact through a friend of hers, she took the opportunity with both hands. “Hutchies gave me the chance to get into the CSQ Trade Ready program, and I learnt a lot from that. I did a few courses, got my EWP license, and they paid for my white card which was really exciting. And then they helped with onsite experience as well, at the Redland Bay Hospital project.”

DJ’s strong work ethic has impressed her site manager, as she says, “even if it was me just walking around picking up rubbish, I did that or fixing flags. I’m always for help or asking others if they need help or if there’s anything else to do, there’s always something to do.”

Though the early starts were a challenge at first, they also mean she gets home earlier to her six-month-old daughter, “I love that I start early and she’s still asleep, and then get to come home and spend the whole afternoon with her.”

With high ambitions, DJ says she is excited to stay on with Hutchinson Builders after her apprenticeship, “I always wanted to grow with a company, and I think Hutchies is a place that will allow me to do that. I’ve always wanted to be in the manager’s role as well. I think I have really good leadership skills and I want to become a site manager or even a project manager.”

Giving advice to others considering joining the construction industry, DJ says having the right attitude is key. As well as maintaining a positive attitude, she believes confidence in yourself and setting clear goals are important when undertaking an apprenticeship, “you have three or four years ahead of you to finish it. So, you have to make it your goal to finish it. For me, I’m determined to finish it is because of my daughter. I’m trying to provide a better life for her. You have to show that you’re willing to do it, and you can do it, and won’t give up.”

DJ works hard to provide a good life for her daughter, but also to be a source of inspiration for her, like DJ’s mum was for her. Success in construction is laying that path, “I want to show her that women can do anything, that she can do anything she puts her mind to. I really want to be inspiring to her when she grows up. I hope to inspire other indigenous young women as well.”

Certainly, DJ is an inspiring figure with an exciting career ahead of her within the construction industry.

Click here to learn more about CSQ’s Trade Ready program