Women in Trades campaign empowers females

BCITO, a work-based learning division of Te Pūkenga, has recently kick-started its Women in Trades Campaign which aims to empower and encourage women to pursue careers in the building and construction industry, breaking barriers and fostering gender diversity in traditionally male-dominated fields.

“This is a critical issue facing our sector, and while we have made some progress, we still have a long way to go,” says Amanda Williams, principal advisor, Women at BCITO, Te Pūkenga. “This campaign is about providing practical approaches that can inspire wāhine to enter the trades, and to help employers to attract and retain more women”. “As a sector, we have seen moderate growth. In 2015, wāhine had less than 1% representation in the building and construction trades. This has now grown in the sector to 6%. The areas where we have seen this growth include carpentry, painting and decorating, and timber joinery.

“A key challenge for us continues to be attracting women into apprenticeships. Wāhine make up only 3% of BCITO Te Pūkenga apprentices.

“BCITO has set a goal to amplify the number of female BCITO apprentices by 10% by 2025 and an inspiring 30% by 2040. Together, we forge a path of progress, breaking barriers and creating a future of equal opportunities,” says Williams.

To help achieve this shift in the industry, BCITO recently launched an online resource platform. The platform encourages employers to better support women employees, while also fostering growth and helping to strengthen the businesses they work in. Over 10,000 employers have already utilised the online resources, which include strategies for building workplace culture, improving communication, health & well-being, and building future leaders.

To highlight the opportunities available for women in construction, BCITO has developed a series of profiles and case studies to showcase the trades as a viable option for women regardless of age and stage of life. These highlight five women, by sharing their experiences of working in the trades and how they are defining their futures through the tools. One of the case studies features Jessica Packe, who pivoted from her job in hospitality and started an apprenticeship in building and construction to ensure greater stability and structure for her family.

“I hope that my story will inspire other women to find their ‘rocks’, that give them the security they deserve. My passion for building is so strong,” says Packe, “But my passion to build other women up is even stronger.

“The construction industry needs confident, capable, and motivated professionals. These women exemplify the extraordinary talent and determination of women in the trades,” continues Williams.

“Through their accomplishments, we hope to inspire and empower other women to pursue careers in trades, through a BCITO apprenticeship, knowing that they too can achieve great success.” The Women in Trades Campaign comes at a time when there is a pressing need to address the gender gap in the trades industry. Despite significant progress in recent years, qomwn still face challenges and are underrepresented in skilled trades. Supporting gender diversity and providing more opportunities for women in construction is essential to futureproofing talent throughout Aotearoa.

“We are keen to create an all-inclusive and all-empowering environment where women feel comfortable, enabling them to thrive and contribute to the growth and success of the trades industry,” states Amanda Williams.

With over 35,000 BCITO Te Pūkenga trade-qualified professionals and counting, the company says it is passionate about changing people’s lives and helping them create successful careers and lifestyles.  BCITO want to showcase the amazing accomplishments of women in the trades and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.