Breaking Down the Barriers For Women To Enter The Trades
‘Breaking down the barriers for girls and women to enter the lucrative trades is one of the most significant social equity reforms facing the Australia economy’ – Fiona McDonald, Managing Director of Tradeswomen Australia
Tradeswomen Australia Community Foundation have announced a national webinar to provide a forum for girls and women to speak about overcoming the anxieties of entering a male dominated trades workplace with a panel of women currently working in the trades.
Fiona McDonald, Managing Director of Tradeswomen Australia said the ‘Building Futures: Pathways to Trades’ Webinar is part the Foundation’s national program to break down the barriers for girls and women to enter the trades.
Ms McDonald said, women in Australia are being isolated from lucrative trades jobs through historic gender discrimination barriers, a lack of promotion of trades at school level, and in some cases, a lack of knowledge by parents and career teachers.
“The ‘Building Futures: Pathways to Trades’ program is aimed at supporting the positive initiatives taken by Government and businesses, large and small, who have started to employ and nurture women apprentices into the trades.
“Many men in the trades area, in management and at the work face, are being more respectful and acting in a positive mentoring way to the women in the workplace,” Ms McDonald said.
“The current national focus on the role of women in the community in all walks of life has also placed a spotlight on the increasing role women can play in the trades and other professions.”
Ms McDonald, who is a fully qualified Motor Mechanic, said learning what to expect at the workplace, and gaining knowledge from women who have successfully entered the trades provides information for girls considering an apprenticeship, or mature women looking for a career change.
“Participation of women as apprentices/trainees in the non-traditional trades, especially the core trades of construction, automotive and electrical, has remained at less than 2%, and has changed little over the last 25 years.”
In 2019, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed that the average wage across all trade types was $90,246.55 per year, which was $5,236.55 above the national average wage of just over $85,000. The National Skills Needs List (2019) lists 65 trades that are experiencing national skills shortages. Of those, 62 can be classed as male-dominated trades; only 3 could be classed as female-dominated.
The concept of the Webinar is to break-down the barriers and provide information and real experiences of women working in the trades.
The Manager of the Tradeswomen Australia Community Foundation Schools Program Ms Katie Yates will host the Webinar. Katie is an experienced manager of major social and economic inclusion campaigns, who is working with career teachers to implement the student trades information program into secondary schools. Ms Yates said the starting point to increase the number of women in the trades in the future will rely on information and a community awareness strategy to alert girls at secondary schools of the opportunities to undertake a successful well paid and rewarding career in the trades.
The webinar will provide a broad focus on issues about making the decision to accept an apprenticeship, the challenges, and rewards of work in the trades, plus longer-term plans, and opportunities, including starting their own businesses.