Women in Fencing
As co-owner and general manager of WNS Contracting as well as a mum of two small boys and a third child on the way, you’d think Sophie Roydhouse’s dance card was full enough. But when she’s not running her and her husband’s thriving fencing business in Orange, she’s advocating on behalf of the industry and promoting the Fencing Industry Skills Pathway Initiative, which aims to provide a nationally recognised trade qualification for fencing professionals.
"What we do is a full trade with specific skills," Sophie says. “My vision is that we elevate the recognition of fencing as a valued trade, just like being an electrician or a mechanic or a boilermaker. It would be great for young people to understand that fencing is a career they can make good money from. And that these days, with modern tools and processes, it’s not as hard on your body as it once was.”
Under her leadership, WNS Contracting has developed an unrivalled reputation in the NSW Central West region, with a significant pipeline of work stretching out many months. Despite the demand, Sophie says the most element of growing the business is having the right people with the right mindset working alongside her and husband, William. As someone with a background in HR, she knows all too well that it’s better to spend time finding the right people to join your business than it is mopping up their mistakes.
Sophie also offers invaluable advice to women considering the fencing industry. She believes the industry is welcoming of females, saying,
"It's not sexist at all that I have seen... So long as you have the right attitude, that you're polite and thoughtful, honest and trustworthy...all are welcome."
A key skill for aspiring fencers is problem solving, says Sophie. “Every fencing job is different and the way you approach it requires an element of creativity. You have to consider what the purpose of the fence is – is it to keep something in or something out? What about the terrain? Is it rock or soil or something else? How do you want it to look? What are the best tools for the job? There’s a combination of practical skill and creative problem solving involved that’s probably not that obvious at first glance.”
Sophie speaks highly of her experience with D&D Technologies over the years, particularly for their attentive and solution-focused approach. She values D&D's responsiveness to industry needs, producing reliable and effective products. This reliability is crucial for WNS Contracting, as Sophie points out,
"A business loses so much money if we have to go back to fix something that's not right."