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Profile – Women in timber

1 September 2021

The timber industry has been historically dominated by men, but things are changing fast both inside the mill and in the office. From a recent issue of Timberlink Newsletter, Denise Morrison and Carley Murphy, were asked about their careers, the challenges they have faced and about why a career in timber is something young women should consider. Last week we covered a short interview with Denise Morrison. This week, Carley Murphy, Dry Mill treatment re-wrap operational Excellence Manager with Timberlink is interviewed.

Q. What is your background and how did you enter the timber industry?

Carley: I previously worked in Real Estate for 3 years but was looking for a job where I would spend more time out of an office and more time doing a task that required more thinking and more physical work. I enquired about the job advertised at Timberlink at the time and was told that I would start in the wrapping station with the opportunity to move up. It has been over a year now since being employed by Timberlink and so far I am enjoying each day and the people I work with.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your role and the industry as a whole? How did you end up in your current role? Dry Milltreatment re-wrap

C: My current role here at Timberlink is treatment rewrap on the Fromm (pack wrapping) line. This involves wrapping the packs that have been treated so that they are ready to be sent out to our customers. Other areas I have been trained and worked in are the grade station and the other main wrap station line. When I first started, I had no idea how many different grades of timber there were. Over the past 12 months, I have been shown how to identify different grades and what each grade means. I found this really interesting and beneficial as now I have a great understanding of why we cut so many different sizes of timber and that each size and grade has a different purpose.

Q. What advice do you have for women who are thinking about entering the timber industry or male-dominated industries in general?

C: To be honest I don’t believe there are any challenges as a woman in the industry. When I first started, Iworked with 3 other women at the wrap stations and felt completely comfortable, and the men I have dealt with on my shift have also been wonderful and have helped me if I had any questions and have helped me with learning new machinery throughout the mill. I have also noticed throughout my time here that more and more women are being hired and I think that is also great.

Q. People often assume working at a sawmill involves a lot of lifting and manual labour. Can you talk a bit about the automation of the industry?

C: Going from an office job to a sawmill was a big change for me, I had no idea what to expect or what it would even be like. It was nothing like I thought it would be, the jobs are definitely not what you think they will be when you picture working in a sawmill, it is all automated. Previously packs were wrapped individually with just a trolley and plastic roll set up. Now that the Fromm line is installed the process is all automated so that the pack is called, the plastic is dropped on top on the way through, operators staple the plastic down and then it is sent through a strapper ready to be placed in dispatch.

This automation makes things so much easier and more efficient, as well as taking some of the physical work out of it making it easier on the operators. So overall the experience I have had so far has been great, and I would strongly encourage any young woman if they were looking for a change in their current lifestyle to jump in and have a go! The experience and knowledge you can gain could lead you down any path in the timber industry as there are definitely a lot more opportunities in this career.

Source: Timberlink

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