Men's work? Not at all! - Vroom Funderingstechnieken
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December 21, 2017

Men's work? Not at all!

For a few weeks now, 20-Year old Taylah Wilks from Newcastle, New South Wales, has been assisting in pile-driving work with equipment operator Edwin van de Giessen, pile-driver Sjors Koole and excavator operator Hajo Nooij. In terms of strength and tenacity, Taylah is the equal of her male colleagues, but the men treat her differently nonetheless. "Like a lady, you know? Like it should be,” says Edwin
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Taylah is in the Netherlands for a short time as a rugby international. On two to three evenings per week, she can be found training at Waterland Rugby Club in Purmerend, and at weekends she plays in matches. "Vroom is a great company to work with. The work I do here uses muscles that I normally don't use very much. My shoulder was hurting a bit - my colleagues were concerned straight away and wanted to help. The clothes and PPE we wear are perfectly matched; there's a wide range of gear for all weather conditions. Last week I even saw real snow for the first time in my life. Fantastic!”

Quick learner

"Taylah is a quick learner, she picks things up right away,” says Hajo in praise of his new team member. "That's because I've got good teachers!” replies Taylah. Edwin sometimes finds explaining things in English a bit of a problem. “We use specialist jargon. What's the right word for 'strop', for instance? But we get there in the end.” 

Boys will be boys

As Taylah says, “In Australia it's more common for women to work in the construction industry than it is in Europe. Before I came to the Netherlands I made window and door frames from aluminium, from the drawing board. When I was doing that, some of my colleagues were women. To tell you the truth, I'm a little surprised to be such an exception to the rule here. But working in such a male-dominated culture isn't a problem for me.”


The construction industry certainly has opportunities for women. If you're prepared to roll your sleeves up, and like physically-demanding work, then this is the industry for you.  But not every building site is geared to cater for ladies. "I think that if you want to make this line of work attractive to women, there are a number of areas that can be improved. In many cases, toilet and sanitary facilities don't take women into account. I can understand that not all women would be happy with that.”

Taylah will be in the Netherlands until mid-May before returning ‘down under’. “Working on foundations and the new colleagues I've acquired has been a great experience, but I do miss my family and friends. In Australia, I'll be picking up my old work. I like working with my hands.”