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The course making it easier for Māori women to become tradies - 'Girls do just as good as the boys'

With a shortage in construction workers nationwide courses which train carpentry students like Melodie Katipa are more vital than ever.

Ms Katipa is one of hundreds of trade trainees being taught carpentry as part of the Māori and Pasifika Trades Training programme in Auckland.

She only got into carpentry this year after winning a Māori and Pasifika trades training scholarship and she believes women can do wonders in her line of work.

"Men do a better job at heavy lifting and stuff, women do a better job at fine finishing," Ms Katipa told tVNZ1's Te Karere.

"It's nice to know there's females and you're not the only female doing something really hearty."

The programme is one year long and fees are free for those who have been awarded one of the 650 scholarships available each year.

Part of the practical and theory-based course consists of trainees building a three-bedroom house.

"This is the first house we built, and I feel I’m always going to remember my first. This is definitely not going to be my last," says Ms Katipa.

Organisers of the programme say women in trades might be the shake-up needed for the industry and Māori will benefit from this change.

"The girls do just as good as the boys if not better," says trainer Lance Laulala.

"Just with the finer stuff that we do the girls seem to give more attention to detail so it’s been a joy having them on site."

Melodie’s dad and brother also work in carpentry, but Melodie says thanks to her new skills she can depend on herself to get things done.

"I’d love to have a partner, but I feel like I don’t need someone to do something for me," says Melodie.

Next year, another 650 trade scholarships will be made available for future tradies like Ms Katipa.

Te Karere met young tradie Melodie Katipa who is training to become a carpenter thanks to a trade scholarship. Source: Te Karere