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Funding to boost female tradie numbers in Canberra

By Glynis Quinlan 2 April 2018 52

Second-year electrical apprentice Leilani McGurgan from the ACT Property Group at work. Photo: Supplied.

With the numbers of women starting in trades stagnating, the ACT Government has launched a funding initiative designed to improve the gender balance in these traditionally male-dominated industries.

Half a million dollars has been allocated to the Women in Trades Program Fund which aims to boost the number of women starting an apprenticeship in trades like building, plumbing, automotive, engineering and electro-technology in Canberra.

“This is a great program that’s all about creating more jobs and bringing more diversity to a range of industries here in Canberra,” said ACT Training Minister Meegan Fitzharris.

“In the last 10 years, the number of women seeking apprenticeships in trade areas like carpentry and plumbing has stagnated around one per cent,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“Obviously women have the capacity to do these jobs, so I’d love to see this improve.

“Boosting the number of women starting an apprenticeship in the trades isn’t just about fostering gender equality – it’s about strengthening these industries by widening and diversifying their talent pool, and understanding the best practices for recruiting and retaining women in trades.”

Applications are now open for the Women in Trades Grants Program and close at 4 pm on April 17.

Grant funding will be available on a competitive basis to support highly targeted projects that contribute to achieving positive outcomes for women seeking to enter trades.

Ms Fitzharris said that around $500,000 will be available to eligible organisations over three years and applicants are encouraged to match the funds received.

Organisations seeking funding can click here for more information about the grants program, information sessions and the application process.


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49 Responses to
Funding to boost female tradie numbers in Canberra
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Capital Retro 9:06 pm 03 Apr 18

I would be receptive if I could get a female tradie who could also make me a good cup of tea just like my mother used to make me.

Everytime I get a (male) tradie in they want a cuppa and some bickies which I have to provide.

    Ghettosmurf87 1:31 pm 04 Apr 18

    I’m sure you think you’re being funny, but it’s exactly these kind of ridiculous jokes and attitudes (as espoused in many of your posts across this site) that undermine equality in the workplace and society as a whole.

    The “joking” expectation that women tradies are welcome if they can make you a cuppa like your mum, when no such expectation is held for the male tradies is just another extension of the expectation that the wife will look after the kids, do the cleaning, cooking etc.

    It’s absolute tripe from men who would rather enforce that expectation than roll up their sleeves and do that sort of work themselves.

    Capital Retro 5:24 pm 04 Apr 18

    I was being fair-dinkum actually but if it gave you a laugh that’s good.

    As it turns out, I do most of the cooking and some of the heavier cleaning. I also do most of the home maintenance with the exception of plumbing and electrical work which requires licensed tradespersons (notice I didn’t say tradesmen).

    It’s perhaps all academic anyhow as I have just read new data which indicates the annual trend for building approvals in the ACT is now -61.8% (highest in Australia) so appears the market has tanked and all those new jobs won’t be created after all.

Greg Lister 11:50 am 03 Apr 18

Andrew John Stewart, agreed. Needs more people saying and standing for what you said.

Andrew John Stewart 10:42 am 03 Apr 18

How about boosting male numbers in other industries such as health and teaching as an offset then instead of just discriminating against males again. Young males already feel left out as witnessed by the high suicide rates.

Richard Navakas 9:24 pm 02 Apr 18

The big problem here isn’t gender imbalance it is the inability of mature age apprentices to get a start as they are priced out of the market. No one wants to pay them the award when they can hire a teenager for heaps less.

    Ho-jae Jeong 6:51 pm 05 Apr 18

    I was told by so many businesses that I am too old to start an apprenticeship. Now I am working at a workshop where all the apprentices are mature aged and my boss is very happy with us. :)

Sean Bishop 6:52 pm 02 Apr 18

Friends I know in these trades aren't complaining about the trade.. they're complaining at how little per hour they get.. a 1st year apprentice is on $9. An hour. 2nd year approx $12 n hour.

Plus the b.s that goes with the job and customers.. how about we actually reform the hourly rate as a mandatory hourly rate for the apprentice's we so desperately spend wasted money for when they just quit because they can't survive on the bull*hit hourly wages.. oh and also, thanks to the fantastic fat piece of *hit Joe hockey removing the tool allowances.. no wonder our capital and states are screaming for apprentices

**if any apprentices would like to comment, more then welcome. Insight is knowledge.. tell us your hourly for what you're doing**

    Karen Baldwin 8:36 pm 02 Apr 18

    I had the opportunity to explain to policy makers at the Department of Employment that if they were serious about increasing the number of people into apprenticeships they absolutely have to increase the wage.

    Once upon a time most apprentices lived with mum and dad until they got qualified, that doesn't happen much these days and the woeful wage is ridiculous!

    My son was a dish pig at a restaurant, he earned up to $30/hour on Sundays washing dishes. As soon as he signed up for his apprenticeship his wage dropped to $9/hour. Fortunately he stuck it out and finished his apprenticeship but it was really tough on him.

    Sean Bishop 8:45 pm 02 Apr 18

    Thank you for the insight Karen..

    Kerryn Price 6:30 pm 03 Apr 18

    The apprentices should be paid the minimum wage at the very least.

    Sean Bishop 6:37 pm 03 Apr 18

    Absolutely.

    Tamyka Smith 12:08 pm 05 Apr 18

    Sean Bishop - Qualified female mechanic here :) My starting wage was $6.05 an hour. In my second year it went up to $7.05 an hour. Third year follows the same trend. I had to waitress in the evenings and on the weekends just to get by. If you want to help any apprentice (male or female) bring up the award rate so they can live out of home, afford to drive their vehicle (car or bike) and be able to eat... Its asking too much I know, given my time again, given the low pay rate, I'm not sure I'd do it all again...

    Sean Bishop 12:57 pm 05 Apr 18

    Tamy Smith - wow I'm surprised you stuck it out! Well done. Agreed the award needs to be lifted.

    Mark Parton MLA

    Marko Lehikoinen 7:45 pm 06 Apr 18

    I just can not get over the fact that first year apprentices still get less than $10/hour. I started my apprenticeship in 1990 and got $4.10/hour back then. That means in almost 30 years the wages of apprentices have barely doubled. Meanwhile house and rent prices have quadrupled, petrol has done the same plus everything else keeps going up at over 4% a year. Shouldn't apprentices be on at least minimum wage anyway? This is a ridiculous loophole that needs to be fixed as soon as a political party grows a backbone. It is practically slavery and an injustice to anybody who wants to make an effort to become a trades person.

Jenny Purseglove 3:54 pm 02 Apr 18

Well done Lani. 😁

gooterz 3:45 pm 02 Apr 18

“In the last 10 years, the number of women seeking apprenticeships in trade areas like carpentry and plumbing has stagnated around one per cent”
What is the One percent? is that based on total numbers or percent of something. What is the percent of something based on. Is one percent actually significant? What did the male numbers do in that same timespan? Given the shift from small housing to commercial apartments as the main mode of housing, smaller local trades are being replaced by larger experienced firms from Sydney.
How is it even calculated?

Perhaps they should make it harder for women to get unskilled jobs so they go into more skilled work more easily?
Most unskilled retail staff are female, as they are hired over male employees. The reasons males go into skilled work is because they are hired less frequently for retail employment.

Leisa Gibson 2:47 pm 02 Apr 18

Fantastic idea.

Peter Drady Dradrach 2:14 pm 02 Apr 18

Apprentices should get tax breaks, reduced stamp duty etc. Lower the cost of living and you'll get more apprentices and then trades folk.

Chris Ellis 2:12 pm 02 Apr 18

Great but what about incentives for males to enter traditionally female dominated jobs. But wait.. they're not paid well enough to attract men.🙁

Paul Chubb 1:20 pm 02 Apr 18

What is it about gender imbalance in trades that is worth so much.money. a while back I was in a male dominated industry. Now I an in a female dominated industry. There isn't much difference.

Steve Ulrich 1:08 pm 02 Apr 18

Im waiting for the incentives to recruit male teachers, male nurses and male office workers (who are in the minority)

    Justin Sevi 1:28 pm 02 Apr 18

    Some women in IT engineering would be nice too..wheres the equality? 🤔

    Michael Cruise 1:58 pm 02 Apr 18

    Yes. Let's magically fix every equality issue at once...

    Steve Ulrich 4:47 pm 02 Apr 18

    Michael Cruise yep, giving one gender 'incentives' to take up professions that they were not interested in doing in the first place, well that is just stats balancing to make a segment of the community feel 'empowered'.

    Gender equality would be ensuring we have legislation that made it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their gender....oh hang on we have that, and have had it for decades.

    Merit based employment should be encouraged, not gender based employment.

    Michael Cruise 4:49 pm 02 Apr 18

    Steve Ulrich yet women still get regularly discriminated against and generally have lower pay than men doing the same job. It's almost like we need to try something else because the existing stuff isn't working...

    Steve Ulrich 4:53 pm 02 Apr 18

    Michael Cruise I think that this needs to be proven rather than just stated. I would also suggest that there is legislation well established that prevents one gender being paid more than another based on gender. Consider perhaps the issue may be that women make their own choices in employment, and some fields may not be as appealing to them as they are to males. As for child rearing, we have a billion dollar childcare industry that has been subsidised to the tune of billions of dollars each year for decades as well. Women make choices which influence their earning capacity, they are not forced into it.

    Michael Cruise 5:04 pm 02 Apr 18

    It has been proven time and time again that women in the same job generally get less than men.

    I'm not against merit based employment. Someone should be capable of doing a job to get it. And yes, there are fields that should encourage more men to work in it.

    Michael Cruise 5:05 pm 02 Apr 18

    Also, the child rearing thing is BS. A man can equally choose to be a primary carer for a child.

    Steve Ulrich 5:06 pm 02 Apr 18

    I suggesting that its the choice that they are making is influencing pay levels, not based on gender. There is a difference. Is someone can prove to me that women are being deliberately being paid less based on their gender, Im interested to see it. I do not expect someone who chooses to take 6 years out of their life to care for a child to be paid as much as someone who has spent that 6 years in the workforce developing their skills and making achievements in the workplace.

    Andrew Nightgato 6:27 pm 02 Apr 18

    Here's what the Parliament had to say about it ... https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1718/Quick_Guides/Wages

    Andrew Nightgato 6:31 pm 02 Apr 18

    There are reasons behind it but there is a difference in the amount paid to men and women ... like there is a difference between the average time taken off to have kids between men and women.

    Steve Ulrich 6:31 pm 02 Apr 18

    thanks. I cant see a comparison of hours worked and time spent in workforce etc. vs pay.

    Simon Rainbow 8:27 am 03 Apr 18

    Discrimination is easy. You see a married woman of child bearing age and a man of the same age apply for a job with same experience and qualifications do you take the risk of hiring someone who might leave for having kids? Same again for people with kids. Mum is more likely to have the day off to be with sick kid or other things that cant be moved outside work hours....

    Scott Applebee 9:29 am 03 Apr 18

    Michael Cruise Can you please point me to this proof? I'm interested to see the figures.

    Michael Cruise 9:32 am 03 Apr 18

    Scott Applebee Andrew posted a link earlier.

    Craig Tregear 11:58 am 03 Apr 18

    Michael Cruise that link doesn’t make the statement that women get less per men per hour, it states that because of the way women work, the under representation of them at high levels (and implies their personal circumstances like taking more time off than men for child rearing) they on average get less. This isn’t the same... as other people have stated I would love to see an example where a women is getting paid less than a man with the same experience and skill level for the same work (and if they are I’d definitely be angry and wanting it fixed). The question is do we want equality (everyone getting paid the same based on their experience and skill set) or equity (everyone getting the same wage, even if they aren’t as skilled or working as many hours as some of their counterparts).

    Dave Blow 12:20 pm 03 Apr 18

    Craig Tregear you wont find that mate...its against the law. All these statements about women earning less are NEVER about less pay for same work...but talk about career averages and so on.

    Stacey Griffiths 9:23 pm 03 Apr 18

    Except that there is lots of evidence in the private sector that shows men make more than women for doing the same job. Many times when a person can negotiate their rate men make than women. The most commonly found evidence is around the perception of women as pushy or overbearing when they ask for more money whilst a male is viewed as a go-getter etc. In the public sector there is a huge discrepancy in the number of males vs. females I management roles. This is especially true in the education sector. There is also no difference in the number of male vs. female secondary teachers in the ACT, there is more male college teachers than female. The HUGE gap is in the primary sector. Surprise, surprise the sector of education that is most dominated by females is...... wait for it...... the lowest paid of all the educational sectors.

    Craig Tregear 9:41 am 06 Apr 18

    Stacey Griffiths with those points though you have to be careful as correlation does not imply causation. If those points are true and there are more women in primary teaching which pays less but an equal amount in secondary that doesn’t mean that there are more women in primary “because” it pays less and they are forced there. It also doesn’t mean that they are pay less because they are women or that the role in general is pay less because it is generally dominated by women.

    In the example that you mentioned in the private sector, if all of that is true, who’s at fault? You say in those jobs employees can bargain for better wages and that the men make more, but why is this? Is this because the women don’t bargain? Because they always lose at the bargaining (which would imply illegal discrimination)?

    With most of these types of posts it always appears everyone is out to vilify someone.

    Stacey Griffiths 2:36 pm 06 Apr 18

    In the example of the private sector it is part of a larger issue around the perception of women in the workplace and whilst it is something that is being raised in academia how exactly do you go about proving it? No employer is going to stand up and say, yes that's why I paid that person less. In practice most people (male and female) don't even realise they have these biases in those types of situations. I am in no way attempting to vilify anyone, instead I hope that people stop on think about those things so when they sit on a panel or decide on a pay rate they challenge their own biases and think about these things openly.

    Dave Blow 9:04 am 07 Apr 18

    If there is no set rate...and one assumes that to be the case when you talk about negotiated remuneration, then how can you say anyone is being paid less UNFAIRLY? It is inconceivable that ALL men are better at negotiating salary than ALL women... so there would - of necessity be both men and women scattered throughout the negotiated "range".... If the salary is negotiated the employer will no doubt happily say the person is being paid what was agreed. To suggest a NEGOTIATED/AGREED package is less BECAUSE the employee is a woman is ridiculous. This is almost the "woman as child" argument which has been used so often..(surprisingly by womens advocates!).and is, IMO, particularly offensive.

    David Eggins 12:48 pm 08 Apr 18

    Here is a good podcast about this topic. http://pca.st/K9X3. Freakonomics Radio. "What can Uber teach us about the gender pay gap."

Jesse Peter 1:07 pm 02 Apr 18

why ?

Blen_Carmichael 12:39 pm 02 Apr 18

I don’t oppose moves like this, but there is a hypocrisy that favours women over men in so-called ‘positive discrimination’ measures. Back in 2004, Katy Gallagher rejected the federal government’s plan to offer male-only teaching scholarships. Her reason? “Women should have equal access.” Never mind the lack of male teachers in schools to the detriment of students – especially boys.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2004-05-04/act-rejects-male-teaching-scholarship-plan/1970182

Tim Cole 12:38 pm 02 Apr 18

Great initiative. Where does the government keep finding the money to spend?

Janine Baines 12:32 pm 02 Apr 18

What a fantastic initiative!

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