With women still vastly underrepresented in traditionally male-dominated industries and increasing demand for skilled workers, Federation TAFE is encouraging women and girls to explore a career in the trade industry.
Federation's recent ‘Girls Try-A-Trade Day’ saw over 80 Years 9 and 10 girls from nine high schools across the greater Ballarat region get valuable hands-on experience in Federation TAFE’s trade space with students engaging in fun and practical activities related to automotive, carpentry, engineering, cabinet making, bricklaying, plumbing and painting and decorating.
Federation University Pro Vice-Chancellor (Vocational Education and Training) and CEO TAFE, Liam Sloan said, “Federation TAFE is doing everything it can to ensure that our industries reflect society while encouraging greater inclusivity. The day was a brilliant opportunity for young women to try-a-trade and explore a non-traditional career path.”
Students tried their hand at changing tyres, subfloor plumbing, simulated welding, using a nail gun, navigating a car engine and more and had the chance to speak with TAFE teachers, industry partners, current apprentices, and women in trades, to learn what to expect from an apprenticeship and about possible future career pathways.
The Girls Try-A-Trade event underlines Federation TAFE’s support of the next generation of women in trade and directly addresses the lack of trade careers information given to girls often cited as a major barrier for women aspiring to enter a skilled trade.
Federation TAFE Program Manager, Design and Construction, Hayden Eberle said, “Attitudes have changed and the building and construction sector is no longer the ‘boys-club’ of the past. However, a massive gender-gap still exists with women comprising only three per cent of tradespeople. Events like this demonstrate that trades are a great career path for women; and that they are the future of the industry.”
Federation TAFE Head of Centre for Design and Construction, Sharyn Wright agreed, “It is so important to engage our young women early by introducing them to trade career pathways. It was wonderful to have year 9 and 10 students here experiencing a snapshot of what we offer at Federation TAFE. I hope to see many of them come back as students and/or apprentices over the next few years.”