A home DIY-er (or DIY-attempter) I’m impressed by trades people who can do the things I’m keen to know how to do. I’m even more impressed when the person teaching is a women.
I’ve been following Tradie Lady Adelaide on Instagram for awhile now. Leanne is the face behind @TradieLadyAdelaide an apprentice electrician who to this date has over 15K followers on social media. I reached out to Leanne and asked if I could feature her in a blog post, asked her a few questions about her life as a female apprentice electrician, and the impact social media has had on her and her work.
What’s made you decide to become an electrician?
After 12 years in the fitness industry I needed a change. I’ve always loved the idea of a trade but when I left school in 2006 it was never really offered or encouraged for females back then. I thought it was either go to uni or get a job.
What was some of the hurdles you face being a female electrician?
Being dismissed as weak, or emotional.
Being an adult apprentice I cost a lot more. In some resume follow up calls I was told, ‘You’re too expensive, I can train two people up for the same price as you. The only thing you have going for you is that you’re a female’. That was pretty disheartening, but I kept pushing and eventually landed the perfect role.
When people say they doubt my abilities, it drives me more to prove them wrong.
When did you start your social media accounts?
I started it probably 3 years ago when I was in the fitness industry but then changed it to @tradieladyadelaide a year ago and it has grown a lot more since the change.
Why did you decide to start your social media accounts? What do you aim to achieve with your account?
I wanted to show life as an apprentice, from an adult female’s perspective. We are so under represented online and in real life. What I share, my thoughts and feelings, it’s all unfiltered, honest and real.
Being on social media as a female sparky, what impact has it had on you professionally and personally?
I’ve had a lot of hate especially if I share my thoughts on the bad things about my industry. It can sometimes impact my mental health, but I’m slowly learning to not let keyboard warriors have that much hold over my life.
I’ve had a few incidents of online bullying. Mostly trolling antagonist comments like, “Shouldn’t you be in the kitchen, not taking a man’s job.” “I would never hire a female as she will only get pregnant and then cost me in maternity leave.” “Women can’t work in a man’s field, it would be too distracting.” or “You only work in the field to hit on guys.”
But I’ve gotten the most support from men in my industry!! Sharing and being on social media as a female sparky has allowed me to connect with likeminded people who have now become real life friends who I can talk to, get help and advice from.
It’s also given me collaboration opportunities, where I’ve been able to review of tools and merchandise.
Why do you think you’ve gained such a large following?
I guess my followers would be best to answer that.
I think because I show a mixture of work and real life. I try to be honest, my photos aren’t edited, so no makeup, me doing early mornings or late nights. Just sharing the real me. Generally, the posts of just me get the most likes, and the posts of my tools gets the most comments.
What are your tips for trade businesses who are struggling or are too busy to be on social media?
Post good quality, real content and often. Take lots of photos when you’re at your jobs, but don’t forget to do your job well. Get a scheduling app that can help schedule your posts ahead of time for you.
It takes time and effort to make the numbers grow so be patient and be consistent.
Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years time?
5 years time I want to be fully qualified and starting my own business. As a women I’ve always been hesitant about calling a tradie, and letting someone I don’t know into my home. I want to create a team of lady tradies servicing all trades, so both female customers and workers feel they’re in a safe, and comfortable environment.
Best part about being a sparky?
Most memorable experience being a sparky to date?
Realising that I don’t suck at being an electrician and that I can do this. I can admit maths and theory is a bit of a struggle for me, considering I left school 13 years ago. So I do surprise myself and my abilities when I’m able to fix things, or find solutions to a problem.
Check out and follow Leanne on and off the tools on her Instagram account @tradieladyadelaide.