Supporting Young Women To Work In Trades And Tech

The Allan Labor Government is supporting the growth of women’s participation in trades and tech, encouraging teenagers to pursue dedicated education streams to build a career in the burgeoning sectors.

Minister for Industrial Relations Tim Pallas today visited the Northern College of the Arts & Technology (NCAT) in Preston as the college launched its Code of Respectful Conduct, part of the Bring it On! Young Women in Trades and Tech project.

The Labor Government provided NCAT with $70,000 to run the project, which raises awareness of opportunities for young women to study trade and technology subjects.

NCAT is a senior secondary government school created for students to complete a Year 10, VCE or VCE Vocational Major and go on to tertiary courses, apprenticeships or employment in the visual and performing arts, design, multimedia and photography – and increasingly, trades and technology.

Since 2021, NCAT has been actively recruiting young women to study trade and technology. That year, young women comprised 2 per cent of students. That had increased to 7 per cent last year and this year it doubled to 14 per cent.

The increase is also reflected in the construction industry, with women now making up almost 14 per cent of the total workforce. However, the gender split is not even across occupational groups.

Women make up 30 per cent of professional roles, while they occupy 3.5 per cent of trade and technician roles. This still remains more than twice the historical average of 1.5 per cent.

The Code of Respectful Conduct – a commitment to lead and advocate for cultural change in the workplace – was signed by representatives from Hutchison Builders, the CFMEU, QA Electrical, New Plumbing Solutions, Civil Infrastructure Group, A&A Cabinet Impressions, Melbourne Polytechnic and Northern Workwear and Safety.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations Tim Pallas

“We’re working to provide opportunity for young women and gender-diverse young people to build careers in construction – it’s fantastic to see Year 10 students setting out on this path.”

“Education and training are vital, and so are attitudes in the workplace. Every workplace conversation, policy or action can reinforce or challenge the beliefs and norms that drive inequity.” 

Quote attributable to Minister for Education Ben Carroll

NCAT is an outstanding school that constantly looks for new ways to break down barriers and entrenched ways of thinking about education and careers. We’ll keep backing schools that produce amazing results for their students.”

Quote attributable to Member for Preston Nathan Lambert

“The team at NCAT do a fantastic job, led by legendary principal Raffaela Galati-Brown. Congratulations to the students, staff and industry partners involved in the Bring it On! program.” 

Quotes attributable to NCAT Year 10 Technology Cert II Building and Construction student Cin Hughes

“I helped out Dad doing renovations and really did not like the straight academic environment. I wanted something more practical that could lead me to a job.” 

“The Bring It On! project is great. We can have discussions about how we can encourage other young women to think about studies and careers in trades and technology. Our ideas are taken seriously.”

Quote attributable to NCAT Year 10 Technology Cert II Building and Construction student Isabella Mavrogiannis 

“I always enjoyed working with my hands and doing woodwork at my old school and my Dad is a carpenter. My teacher said I should do carpentry, so I came to NCAT.”