Women taking on trades

Female Ara graduate and engineer Katie Thomas hopes to inspire more women to follow in her footsteps.

Katie Thomas

“Trades are awesome,” she says. “One thing I enjoyed about getting into engineering is that the culture is really cool. It’s usually quite fun – the boys can go a little bit over the top, but it’s a hell of a good job in any of the trades.

“I meet lots of tradesmen all over the place – sparkies, plumbers – and everybody sort of gets along well. I also have a good sense of humour – that helps!” says Katie.

While female participation in New Zealand trades has increased, it has still not been enough to lift participation above 12 percent of the trades and support staff workforce. Within the New Zealand economy particularly, this means that women are not benefiting equally from the current building boom or the associated activity that makes up such a significant portion of the nations’ GDP.

Initiatives are currently underway to uncover the barriers that may be preventing more women studying trades. ‘Women In Trades’, is a three-year research project jointly commissioned by the Ministry for Women and Ako Aotearoa. The project is designed to “increase the participation and success of women in construction and engineering related trades where they are traditionally under-represented.”

The research so far has found that the women surveyed cited five primary obstacles to starting a career in trades, ranging from a lack of personal knowledge about the wheres and hows and of work experience in general; identifying employers who will take on women, the predominantly ‘male’ culture of the sector, and a lack of support for working women in the trades.

BCITO aims to have women making up 10 percent of its apprentices by 2025 and to have women filling 30 percent of construction trade jobs by 2040.



Previous Post

Clean your home with lasers

Next Post

Architecture Awards winners

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *