Nailing it: women build skills and furniture in Hermannsburg

Measuring, sawing and sanding, women in Hermannsburg are picking up skills and power tools, and crafting furniture for their families.

STEPS Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) students have been experiencing some hands-on learning in the Tjuwanpa women’s carpentry group, where they have been building their own furniture.

After dedicating time to learn and develop their carpentry skills, student have so far constructed beds, tables, and chairs, cabinets, mirrors, and even a cubbyhouse.

With no furniture stores in the small, remote community, Hermannsburg locals have few options: either travel 130 kilometres to Alice Springs, pay the costly transport delivery fees, or go without basic furnishings.

Students of the women’s carpentry group have found another option; they can build it themselves.

The program lets students decide on what type of furniture they would like to build: then they design, plan and construct it, before taking it home.

STEPS SEE trainer Maryanne Cameron teaches language, literacy and numeracy and helps assist students in the carpentry group.

Maryanne said most of our students are quickly whipping up items each week.

“Last week one of our students made a chair for her seven year old and then a table for her this week.”

“One of the most amazing projects, was a great, big, huge cubby house. That was the largest item I’ve seen built so far,” she said.

Maryanne said the carpentry group provides contextualised learning for students.

“We write safety rules, instructions on how to use power tools, and a lot of numeracy, like measuring and other maths skills.”

“Because there is a direct practical application it’s so much easier to learn,” she said.

STEPS provides training in collaboration with the Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP).

The Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program logo.

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