Trades and tech: supporting female students

Wednesday, 11 October, 2023

Trades and tech: supporting female students

Young women are being encouraged by the Victorian Government to pursue dedicated education streams in the trades and tech sector.

The government provided the Northern College of the Arts & Technology (NCAT) in Preston with $70,000 to run the ‘Bring it On! Young Women in Trades and Tech’ project, which raises awareness of opportunities for young women to study trade and technology subjects. Minister for Industrial Relations Tim Pallas visited for the launch of the college’s Code of Respectful Conduct.

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.

“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,” said Tim Pallas, Minister for Industrial Relations.

“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.”

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.

“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,” said Cin Hughes, NCAT Year 10 Technology Cert II Building and Construction student.

“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.”

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

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