After winning the Master Builders Association Victoria Apprentice of the Year, Perin wishes she’d started a trade apprenticeship years ago.

Chisholm TAFE Carpentry apprentice, Certificate III in Carpentry, Perin Breakell had long contemplated learning a trade, but continually put off the chance to start a new career.

“Now I’m really excited for the day my toddler can go to school and tell his mates that his mum is officially a chippy!”

She encourages other women not to be daunted about trying a trade or swapping careers into a trade, and certainly not to wait as long as she did.

“I encourage women to have a crack at a trade; what have you got to lose?”

The 36-year-old mum from Warrandyte was initially knocked back for an apprenticeship not once, not twice, but 50 times before she was taken on by family builder, Kilsyth’s Craft Built Homes.   Based on their positive experience with Perin, the small business would certainly take on more women tradies.

Perin said the award was testament to, “persistence, persistence, persistence.”

Chisholm TAFE teacher, Michael Oldham, said Perin is among the growing number of apprentices who have chosen to take up a trade later in life, as opposed to straight out of high school.

“Chisholm has many women undertaking traditional trade apprenticeships post-covid, responding to the increased demand for tradies on major projects and with suburban small business,” said Michael.

Perin’s dedication to her trade was rewarded when she won the State Apprentice of the Year award in the Master Builders Association (MBA) Victoria Awards in May 2024.

Competing against 150 nominees at the Awards Ceremony at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium on 9 May 2024, Perin says while she was surprised to win the overall award, her attitude has always been to just do her best in her new career.

At the Master Builders Association Awards, Perin Breakell was also awarded the State Apprentice of the Year – Developing Leader Award, as well as the Metro Apprentice of the Year – Developing Leader Award.