Featured, Tradie Profile

Sydney Builder Chick shares her tradie journey

She may only be 21, but Felicity Pettiford has already experienced the full spectrum of tradie life, good and bad.

She tells The Tradie about her journey as a woman in trades, and how she uses her platform as the Sydney Builder Chick to empower others.

There wasn’t really a moment where Felicity didn’t want to be tradie.

When choosing her high school electives, she bucked the trend and chose timber and construction instead of textiles and hospitality.

“I was the first girl to do construction as an elective at my high school,” Felicity said.

“I was definitely trying to enter new territory and try new things.”


Images: supplied by Felicity Pettiford

That wasn’t the first time Felicity was the only girl in the ‘boys room’, and it certainly wasn’t the last. As the end of high school neared, she undertook a new challenge – securing an apprenticeship.

“Finding an apprenticeship was super difficult,” she said.

“I called more than 100 businesses to try and get an apprenticeship, and before I knew it, I eventually found one.”

What would normally be a fairly straightforward entry into tradie life was far from it for Felicity, who continued to “cop a lot of crap” for being a woman in a male-dominated industry.

“There’d be times where I’d have issues with people on-site, or I didn’t feel safe or respected,” she said.

“I kept saying to myself ‘if I want to be a tradie so badly, I’d push through it’.”

It took a few goes, but Felicity was eventually able to find a company she enjoyed working for – All About Carpentry, where she could get on with the job.

“It’s not the job itself, it’s the people you surround yourself with,” she said.

“If I’m working with a company that doesn’t have a good culture, then obviously the job isn’t going to be.”


From a lot of grief Felicity has endured, she’s been able to build her profile to help educate and support her fellow tradies.

Her business – Sydney Builder Chick – serves as both her weekend job as well as a chance to showcase her many carpentry endeavours.

“I was just posting photos and content of what I do at work, and just sharing my story on social media,” Felicity said.

“It ended up becoming really popular, really quickly.

“It grew into not only my business but a platform for women to reach out, network as well as connect with.”

Images: supplied by Felicity Pettiford

When she’s not on deck working with All About Carpentry, Felicity is working weekends as Sydney Builder Chick.

“It’s a lot, but you’ve got to get somewhere in life – whether it’s working my arse off to create content or passing my knowledge and skills on to the next generation, it will turn out positive,” she said.

“There’s so many women who want to do what I do, and they can if they stay dedicated, committed and want to learn.”

Her work on and off the tools has made Felicity one of Carpentry Australia’s most prominent ambassadors.

Bigger picture

From working on projects with Carpentry Australia to chatting all things tradie at the Sydney Build expo, Felicity relishes the chance to help grow the industry.

“Being the Sydney Builder Chick definitely opened up as more than just a business, it’s absolutely opened up for women and men in trades seeking guidance,” she said.

tradie awards
Image: Joni Anderson

Most recently, Felicity was named Tradie Lady of the Year 2024 by Empowered Women in Trades (EWIT). Still in her early 20s – Felicity said she’s far from done.

“I did not expect to get to where I am today,” she added.

“The pace continues to pick up, but I always say I want to leave this earth, I want to make my mark by increasing women participation in trades and helping those who need it most.

“If you asked me five years ago, I’d have told you I just wanted to be a carpenter.

“To already be where I am at such a young age – it’s such an achievement for myself and I definitely celebrate that. Now I’m on to bigger and better things.”

Image: supplied by Felicity Pettiford

Carpe diem

While women still represent only a small portion of tradespeople in Australia, people like Felicity are determined to push that percentage in the right direction.

She said female tradies need more support during their apprenticeships, stating many have had similar experiences to her.

“We’re seeing an increase of women getting into trades, but not staying throughout,” she said.

“I think it’s about getting women into trades, and making sure they’re supported step-by-step throughout their apprenticeship.”

You can find out more about Sydney Builder Chick on Instagram

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