Creating pathways for women in construction

Minister Mick de Brenni and Members of NAWIC Queensland

A new pilot project by the Queensland Government is looking at the best ways to build female participation in construction, aiming to provide avenues for governments and industry to retain more female tradies in construction.

Queensland Housing and Public Works, Mick de Brenni, said the project, occurring in Cannon Hill, aims to create industry change to exceed the eleven per cent target set by the National Association of Women In Construction.

“The Buy Queensland procurement processes give us the flexibility to select contractors for building projects based on price and non-price criteria, and our intention is to use this to boost the number of female apprentices, tradies and professionals working on select social housing projects,” Mr de Brenni said.

“What we learn on this project will inform future projects.

“We want women to be able to take advantage of jobs in the construction industry just like anyone else.”

Mr de Brenni said early works would soon be underway, with construction of 20 new social housing units to start later in 2019.

Minister for Women and Member for Bulimba, Di Farmer, said there were a lot of young, ambitious women keen to join a dynamic work environment such as the construction industry provides and they should have the same access to these well-paid, highly rewarding career paths.

“We know that a diverse workforce allows the best talent to rise to the top, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, cultural background or beliefs.

“Around 15 per cent of apprentices in QBuild are female and one in four of the 16,000 young people who applied for a place in the Manufacturing Industry Group Apprenticeship Scheme last financial year were female.

“To retain this emerging talent in the workforce, we’ve got to make working environments more accessible, to do better than 2.4 per cent female participation in our state’s construction industry.

“This will be a huge step forward for greater gender equality across Queensland workforces and I am pleased to be able to announce it today, the International Day of the Girl.”

National Association of Women in Construction Queensland President, Jen Gillett, applauded the initiative, saying it would set the standard for gender equality on building sites across the state’s robust $46 billion construction industry.

“Women are starting to make inroads in many formerly male-dominated workplaces now prioritising female recruitment, but we still have a way to go to build a critical mass of women in front line construction roles,” Ms Gillett said.

“We’ve got to keep building on some of the recent positive trends we are seeing – Construction Skills Queensland for example reports that the number of female apprentices in the construction trades has doubled over the past decade.

“We would like to show small and larger employers that a flexible approach to working conditions is an efficient and profitable solution and that women can deliver the productivity dividends employers are seeking.”

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