Palaszczuk Government encourages women to consider hard-hat careers


More women are being encouraged to get on the tools as the Palaszczuk Government exceeds women in construction targets on an exemplar project designed to put a spirit level to workforce participation.

Twenty-one female school students met with female tradies working on the QBuild social housing construction site today, where the Palaszczuk Government has joined forces with the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to set a new industry precedent for female participation.

Minister for Public Works and Procurement Mick de Brenni said it was fitting to have the special guests on site during Queensland Women’s Week where the theme was ‘Celebrate our present. Own our Future’.

“Secure, well paid jobs should be jobs for everyone, and the Palaszczuk Government is serious about getting more women into roles in this $45 billion industry.

“You can’t be what you can’t see, so by introducing these aspiring young tradies to female professionals here today, we are helping to cement their career aspirations in construction.

“By setting targets at the QBuild construction site, the Palaszczuk Government is creating a blueprint to encourage more female participation across government building projects.

“The percentage of women in trades has been between 2 per cent and 3 per cent for a long time, although in the period since coming to office, our continued efforts have seen women increasing their trade participation to almost 5 per cent.”

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman said the construction project is a huge step forward for greater gender equality across Queensland workforces.

“In Australia, electricians, carpenters and plumbers represent one-third of all construction trades and we want women to be able to take advantage of these jobs, just like anyone else,” she said.

“We’re aiming to boost the current 5 per cent female participation in Queensland’s building industry.

“In fact, we are aiming to do even better than NAWIC’s target of 11 per cent and, at this site, female involvement is hitting 30 per cent.”

Minister for Communities, Housing and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the project is being delivered under the Palaszczuk Government’s $1.6 billion Housing Construction Jobs Program.

“This program is a key part of the Queensland Housing Strategy which is totally transforming the way housing support and services are delivered across the state,” she said.

“In the 10 years to 2027, we have committed to building 5500 new social and affordable homes across Queensland.

“In addition, our $100 million Works for Tradies initiative is on track, with contracts being signed to build an additional 215 new social homes across Queensland by the end of 2021.

“Collectively, these programs will support over 670 fulltime construction jobs over 10 years, as well as many more through the building supply chain.”

Minister for Employment and Small Business, Minister for Training and Skills Development and Member for Bulimba Di Farmer said to witness female students try their hand on the tools reassured her that Queenslanders are breaking down gender barriers to careers in construction.

“It’s fantastic to see female school students from Brisbane Bayside SC, Mt Gravatt SHS, Redlands College and Redlands Vocational School so willing to try their hands at traditionally male-dominated trades such as carpentry, painting and tiling,” she said.

“My department is now looking to use the exemplar project’s methodology to boost female tradies on the Queensland Government’s $100 million TAFE capital infrastructure program over next three years.

“It certainly augers well for the future.”

NAWIC Queensland President Sheree Taylor said the exemplar project is setting the standard for gender equality on building sites across Queensland.

“This exemplar project is going above and beyond and is also looking at improving participation rates on all construction roles – from project manager, architect, quantity surveying, to construction manager and tradespeople,” she said.

“Seeing women play a vital role in construction of this project is proof the pieces are falling into place,” she said.

Construction Skills Queensland CEO Brett Schimming said new research from CSQ has found an encouraging increase in women choosing careers in construction.

“Attracting women to the industry has always been a challenge but recent trends suggest the mould may have finally been broken,” Mr Schimming said.

“The increase in women undertaking trade training is a further positive sign of changes underway – female construction apprentices almost doubled over the last decade, during a time that saw male apprentice numbers stagnate and fall.

“We can see a strong correlation between these female training numbers and the overall representation of women in the local construction industry.”

The Palaszczuk Government’s building and construction arm, QBuild, is delivering the project, in partnership with NAWIC, Construction Skills Queensland and the Department of Communities, Housing and the Digital Economy.

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