As a carpenter for over 30 years, Jo Saccomani knows what it’s like to be a “tradeswoman in a man’s world.” Combining her passion for empowering women by teaching them woodwork skills with a local demand for classes, Jo opened Two Sheds Workshop in Bega in 2014.
Since then, interest has been so strong that she’s had to upgrade to a larger location. She also began teaching children and teenagers, after being inundated with requests from parents keen for their kids to learn trade skills. Jo says the classes help build confidence, resilience and persistence, and show children that they have the power to “shape their own world.”
Jo believes that women in the area benefit from her classes in several ways, particularly because many of them live and work on farms and enjoy being able to put their new woodwork skills to use. “It creates a social place as well, and a way to connect that is really authentic. It’s also a social movement of sorts…learning life skills that we’re losing, and normalising girls and women working in areas such as woodwork, carpentry and building.”
Jo says the community has been incredibly supportive of her business. She thrives on word of mouth and referrals, which she is proud to reciprocate for other businesses in the region. “There’s a greater sense of community with people wanting things to succeed, so they support wherever they can. They help, drop by, call in and ask about it. Then they go and tell people!”