$700k grant aimed at getting more women to join male-dominated industries


A regional women’s health service has received almost $700,000 to support women seeking work in male-dominated industries.

The See What You Can Be program aims to increase the recruitment and retention of women and girls into construction and manufacturing occupations across the Grampians region.

Women’s Health Grampians CEO Marianne Hendron says the program will help close the gender gap that is prevalent across regional workplaces.

“What we know is that the gender gap in these professions, and in the Grampians region, is women are very under-represented,” she said.

“There’s also a skill shortage in this area, and there’s a lot of investment going into construction and manufacturing.

“It’s also about addressing some of those cultural factors that make it difficult for women to participate,” Ms Hendron said.

The program aims to bring more women into male-dominated roles, but Ms Hendron says it will also be a good opportunity for women to improve their skills in their chosen trade.

“It is about gender equality, but we’re also trying to take the focus off gender and make it an area of work that is open to anyone who is committed, interested and willing to develop their skills.”

Role model for others

Second-year boilermaker apprentice Sarah Cudmore says she became interested in her trade out of pure luck, but soon realised it was something she wanted to pursue.

“I knew after the first few weeks on the job that this is what I was going to do for the rest of my life,” she said.

Ms Cudmore said she hoped to move up the ranks in her industry and become a role model for other women and girls looking to work in male-dominated workforces.

Second-year apprentice Sarah Cudmore on the tools.(

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She will also be a mentor under the new program.

“I have found many times throughout my experience that I either put a lot more pressure on myself and feel that from others, or I feel as though my abilities are only considered good as a woman,” she said.

“Society has gotten to a point where it is ready for change, ready for the next step in equality, and I think this is a great step towards that”

Women needed in regional trades

Ballarat Group Training’s (BGT) Employment Services Manager,Narelle Edwards said the program was a great opportunity for Ballarat businesses to get involved.

“BGT has in excess of 150 trainees and apprentices out on the field and only nine per cent (of apprentices) are women,” she said.

“That’s what we really want to focus on. Whilst there’s an improvement in people wanting to do the courses, we want to make sure that transitions into trades and apprenticeships for young women,” Ms Edwards said.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne said the project would help boost women’s employment and support women’s safety.

Ms Payne said the project, which is funded under the federal government’s Women’s Leadership Development program, would benefit more than 40,000 women nationwide.

“Opportunities will be created for women to up-skill and enter traditionally male dominated industries, including non-traditional trades, aviation, construction and coding,” she said.

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