Pioneering efforts in skilled trades diversity

Empowered Women in Trades is passionately committed to a transformative mission, tirelessly working to boost the presence of women in skilled trades.

By Hacia Atherton, chief executive officer and founder, Empowered Women in Trades (EWIT).

In a country facing critical skill shortages and a housing crisis, EWIT stands at the forefront of change, championing a cause that is central to Australia’s future success. With a vision as bold as necessary, EWIT is committed to leading the charge to increase female representation in skilled trades from a meagre 3 per cent to an ambitious 30 per cent by 2030.

Australia’s skill shortage and housing crisis are complex problems that require innovative solutions. As the demand for skilled labour continues to outstrip supply, the consequences ripple across various sectors, particularly in construction and infrastructure development. Simultaneously, the housing crisis exacerbates affordability and availability issues, putting immense pressure on both individuals and the economy.

It’s against this backdrop that EWIT’s mission takes centre stage. By advocating for increased female representation in skilled trades, EWIT aims not only to bridge the gender gap but also to contribute significantly to the resolution of these pressing national concerns. Through empowerment, education and recognition, EWIT is supporting organisations and industry leaders to foster a dynamic and diverse workforce that can address skill shortages and provide a strong foundation for tackling the housing crisis.

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Pioneering efforts in skilled trades diversity
The Immersive Schools Program.

Tackling the skill shortage head-on

Australia’s skill shortage is not a new problem, but its implications have far‐reaching consequences. Infrastructure and construction projects, often the lifeblood of the nation’s progress, depend on a skilled workforce to thrive. EWIT recognises that empowering women in trades is a powerful remedy for this crisis. Through meticulously designed programs aimed at recruiting women into skilled trades and comprehensive consulting services that foster workplace cultures promoting psychological wellbeing and safety, EWIT is actively addressing this skill shortage.

The housing crisis

The housing crisis in Australia is a multifaceted challenge, characterised by soaring property prices, dwindling affordability and a severe shortage of available housing. This crisis doesn’t just affect our wallets; it touches the very essence of our society. However, where there are challenges, there are also opportunities.

A key solution to the housing crisis lies in expanding the skilled workforce. By doing this, we can accelerate construction projects, increase the housing supply and potentially alleviate affordability issues. One crucial aspect of addressing the housing crisis and our skill shortage is fostering awareness and interest in skilled trades among students.

We believe that professions within the construction industry should be presented as viable career options to all students, regardless of their gender. However, we recognise the need for a particular focus on opening the doors of opportunity within our industry to female and non‐binary students. This is why we take immense pride in our Kicking Goals in Trades program, a partnership between EWIT and the North Melbourne FC’s Freestyle Program.

This program opens the doors of opportunity for female students, allowing them to explore skilled trades as a potential career path. By introducing them to these industries, we inspire the next generation of skilled tradespeople and bridge the gap in the construction workforce.

Pioneering efforts in skilled trades diversity
The 2023 EWIT Gala.

The upcoming gala – shining a spotlight

As we march forward in our mission, EWIT invites you to join us at The Trust in Melbourne on 23 February 2024 for a momentous event – the EWIT Gala and Awards. This gathering is more than just a celebration; it’s a spotlight on the achievements of individuals and organisations dedicated to achieving 30 per cent female representation within skilled trades by 2030. At the gala, we will present awards that honour the incredible women, men and organisations that are driving change within the industry. It’s a night to celebrate their exceptional contributions and to inspire others to join the cause.

By attending the gala, you are not only supporting these phenomenal individuals but also contributing to a brighter future for the construction industry and Australia. Join us, be a part of the solution, and together, let’s empower women in trades and uplift our nation.

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