Succeeding in a man's world - Frances Williams enjoys life as a carpenter

July 26, 2018
Female carpenter Frances Williams.
Female carpenter Frances Williams.
Female carpenter Frances Williams.

For almost 30 years Frances Evadney Jenice Williams has been making virtually anything that can be built with wood.

After leaving Papine High School, Williams, 48, said she couldn’t find a job. However, while at home one day she became intrigued by a piece of furniture.

“I was at home, don’t have any work, and then I saw my chest of drawers in my room, and I said: ‘Mom, you know I woulda like fi know how dem mek dat chest yah,’  and she said: You want to learn the trade, and I said: ‘Yes’, and she said she going to check it out. And from that, it was history,” she told THE STAR.

Soon she was learning the trade at Operation Friendship skills training programme.

Williams told THE STAR that she wasn’t daunted by the fact that persons had labelled ‘carpentry’ a man’s job.

“It was unique and interesting, and I really wanted to know what make up the furniture, from start to finish,” she explained.

“Nuff people surprise and say boy a di first woman dem see do woodwork. Most time when people call me and say: 'Can I speak to Frances' and I say: Yes, and they say: 'Yuh sound like a woman' and I say: Yes, I am,” she added.

The first thing that she built was a bookshelf, which she said the teacher still has in his classroom as somewhat of a treasure.

“Him say it unusual fi a woman mek sup'm so him want it fi souvenir,” she said.

Now she builds things such as floating entertainment centres, gazebos, beds, dressers, fences, and just about anything that can be made from wood. 

“I work for whole heap a different factories, most of them close down. So, each factory you go, you learn a different trade because each of them different. So, you have a whole heap of different technique in doing the woodwork. Every factory mi go, mi learn sup’m new,” Williams told THE STAR.

Now she works alongside her husband, George, they met 10 years ago, and she still takes pleasure in satisfying her customers.

“You know how rewarding it is when the job finish and the customer is pleased and what they do is recommend their friend?,” Williams said.

Other Jobs to Go Stories