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Louise has continued to study since completing the NorthTec carpentry course, and she is steadily developing a wide base of skills to help her achieve her goals. “I want to teach eco-building, and set up a business utilising mud-brick techniques and arts practices.”
Before the NorthTec course, Louise had not done any woodwork. “I wanted to make sure the course would be value for money so I spoke with the tutor before enrolling. He was very encouraging and thorough in providing answers and documentation, so at 44 years old I gave myself a gap year to learn carpentry!”
“Moving from Auckland to an old villa between Whangarei and Dargaville, I wanted the skills to be able to renovate it. The rest of my classmates were young guys aged 17 to 25 and I thought they’d be way better than me, but I was motivated and interested in ways that they weren’t.
“This could be frustrating for me and for them sometimes but I think it was good for them that I was there. As a female I would have to think through ways of doing things sometimes, rather than relying on brute force.”
The course also gave Louise an entrée into architectural design. And for her practicum she worked two days a week for an eco-builder.
“The ultimate would be to have a property that was built of natural materials, offered courses in sustainable living, and had its own food sources. I want to lift the perception of building so it is seen as a contemporary craft that requires attention to detail, aesthetics, and mathematics. Having more women in the industry can help this happen.”
Louise is now well on the way to realising her business goals around sustainable building utilising mud-brick.