Top left: Susan Alberti AC, Patron, Tradeswoman Australia; Fiona McDonald, Managing Director of Tradeswomen Australia with the Hon. Michael Sukkar, Federal Minister for Housing, in the Zoom meeting today.
Tradeswomen Australia today backed the Federal Government’s program to extend apprenticeship opportunities, boost national trade skills and provide incentives for people to undertake renovations or build new homes through the Home Builder Grants Program.
The Federal Minister for Housing, the Hon Michael Sukkar, today met with Tradeswomen Australia via Zoom to discuss the Federal Government’s major initiatives. Tradeswomen Australia is a not for profit organisation dedicated to increasing the number of women to access, participate and succeed in the trades area.
Susan Alberti AC, Patron of Tradeswomen Australia, said the current financial and social challenges being faced by the Australian community because of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that every job counts, and the stimulation of the construction industry with incentives is vital to maintain existing workers and apprentices.
“In these difficult times, expanding the building and construction industry workforce, with men and women, is an important long-term strategy to strengthen the capacity and financial contribution of the industry to the national economy.”
Ms Alberti welcomed the support of Minister Sukkar and the Federal Government to the building and construction industry through the Home Builder Grants program, estimated to provide around 27,000 grants at a total cost of around $680 million.
“Behind every one of these Home Builder Grants stands urgently needed jobs for tradesmen and women and the work engagement of apprentices,” she said.
Fiona McDonald, Managing Director of Tradeswomen Australia, also welcomed the recent announcement by the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, to invest $1.3 billion to support apprentices and trainees maintain their employment and training across Australia to help more than 70,000 small businesses keep around 117,000 apprentices.
Ms McDonald said the investment commitment by Federal Government to protect and expand apprenticeships and training in the trades provides a major opportunity to increase the number of women apprentices /trainees in the core trades of carpentry, automotive and electrical, which have remained at less than 2% for over twenty-five years.
“Increasing the number of women in the building and construction industry is about the Federal and State Governments, along with industry, working towards dealing with Australia’s Skills Shortage.
“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,” Ms McDonald said.
“Given more than 50% of the Australian population is represented by women, it is time to utilise this national skills base which would lift national employment and productivity,” she said.
Barriers to increasing the number of women employed in the trades have been identified as:
- Lack of information and engagement about trades with career advisors and secondary school girls
- Poor workplace culture and social misconception make trades unattractive as a career path
- No structural support systems for women working in male-dominated trade industries.
Ms McDonald said in 2012, the Grattan Institute found that if there was an extra 6% of women in the workforce, we could add up to $25 billion, or approximately 1%, to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product.
Ron Smith, Media Communications, Tradeswomen Australia –
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