A fast-growing industry with plenty of work, there’s room to make a real difference to the comfort and emissions of all Australian homes.

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Ash Turton, Insulation Installer

Ash Turton is one 20-year-old who knows a thing or two about hitting a career ceiling.


As someone who balances office-based work with crawling around inside roofs installing insulation in homes across the ACT, you could say she’s intimately acquainted not just with career ceilings, but walls and floors, too.


Originally a carpenter by trade, an injury during her apprenticeship meant Ash began looking for other kinds of work. She applied for a role as an operations assistant with Alexander Watson Home Insulation, an ACT-based insulation supplier and installer.


While the original role description was focussed on work in the businesses’ head office, at Alexander Watson all employees undergo installation training. Ash became a Certified Insulation Installer, and now splits her time, enjoying joining her installation colleagues on site.


“I’m in the office half the time, on site half the time, which is a great balance,” she says.


“When I applied, I was looking for a change, ’cause I couldn’t do carpentry anymore, which was pretty upsetting,” she says. “But doing both admin and on-site is a great option, and I’m learning every day.”


Ash readily admits she came in without much knowledge of insulation, so the short training courses proved to be essential.


“To be fair I didn’t know much about the industry – I knew insulation was itchy!” she laughs.


“But there’s so much more to it than just insulating a roof or putting fill inside walls. I didn’t know you could do blow-in insulation, for example. I thought insulation was just batts in walls as a house gets built. I also didn’t know about underfloor insulation – there’s a lot that insulation products can do.”


To apply to become a Certified Insulation Installer, the first step is training, which takes between one and two weeks. Training includes learning to work safely at heights, and learning about standards such as electrical safety and the Australian standard for insulation installation. Then of course there’s learning about the different types of insulation products, measurements and calculations, and much more.


To become certified, installers need to demonstrate that they can safely install quality insulation by completing three real-world jobs, and submit evidence collected during the job. That evidence is then assessed against the competencies and standards taught in the training.


“The teachers were great, and the training was a mix of on-the-job and classroom,” Ash explains. “Being on site was really valuable, because you could get an understanding of different installation techniques, learn about cabling and what to expect on the job. Then to become certified, there are things you’ve got to do on your own, to prove you know what you’re doing and what you’re talking about.”


“Being an installer is rewarding work – there’s always a better end goal to reach,” she says. “And for people in need of a job there’s so much work – we’re booked up to January for ceiling insulation.”


While Ash enjoys the challenge of working in sometimes small spaces, she acknowledges that it’s not for the squeamish. “Sometimes it’s tricky work. You can be on your back crawling around with a spray gun working underfloor, and there can be spiders and mud. Also working in heat is challenging. If it’s 30 degrees outside, it can be really hot in a ceiling space. But it’s crazy how much you can get done in a single day.”


While Ash enjoys the physical side, she says her goal is on the management side. “I’d like to eventually get into the admin side and work my way up to project manager role. There’s so much room to grow in the company and the industry.”


And the most satisfying part of the job? “Definitely, it’s hearing the good feedback from clients,” Ash answers. “When we check in on them and they say they can already feel the difference in temperature inside their home, and they’re really appreciative of the work.


“Plus, when it’s cold in winter it’s nice in the roof.”


Turns out that working around a career ceiling can have its positives.


Ash Turton is the Operations Coordinator at Alexander Watson Home Insulation. She is a Certified Insulation Installer.