The New South Wales government has again opened grant funding applications for the second round of the Women in Construction Industry Innovation Program.
With the skilled trades shortage impacting numerous sectors, there is even more incentive to bring more diversity into the construction industry to help fill this need and bridge gaps. The construction industry continues to be one of the most male-dominated industries in Australia, with 12 per cent representation of women across the sector and only two per cent in trade roles.
Minister for Skills, TAFE, and Tertiary Education Steve Whan said, “The demand for construction workers continues to be high across the state. As we continue to deliver infrastructure projects it is paramount we increase the proportion of women in construction to improve industry diversity and productivity.”
“Increasing the participation of women in construction is not about meeting quotas; it is about cultivating a skilled, versatile, and experienced workforce.”
“Empowering more women to choose a career in construction will lead to greater innovation, diversity, and progress, ultimately building a stronger and more inclusive future for the industry,” Mr Whan said.
This Industry Innovation Program supports a range of industry-led initiatives across the state to increase the number of women working in construction, improve workplace culture, create inclusive and safe work environments, and empower women in leadership roles.
Minister for Women, Minister for Seniors, and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Jodie Harrison said, “Through the Women in Construction Program, we are actively working to empower women to consider a career in the construction industry through education and skills development.”
“The future of our trades industry lies in embracing the diversity and capabilities of all workers. The Industry Innovation Program aims to engage the industry in creating a safe, inclusive and dynamic workforce that welcomes and supports women in all trade roles.”
There were 21 funding recipients in the first year of the program who led various initiatives such as providing education opportunities for women who are entering the industry through mentoring, work experience programs, and opportunity showcases. They also organised site visits for school-based students and provided training for established workforces. The training was aimed at influencing existing workplace behaviours to develop respectful and safe cultures on-site.
Initiatives also included embedding flexible work practices and providing a variety of child-care support mechanisms for parents and carers, which helps to address the obstacles that prevent many women from considering a career in construction.
An example of a funded initiative comes from the Infrastructure Sustainability Council who lead the program, Sustainability: A Credible Construction Career Path.
This program aims to encourage more women to join the industry and promote inclusive work practices. This will be achieved through the following initiatives: firstly, developing a skills framework; secondly, creating educational resources for organizations; and thirdly, delivering a mentoring program specifically for construction businesses located in New South Wales.
The Industry Innovation Program is being delivered as part of the New South Wales Government’s $20.2 million Women in Construction Program.
Infrastructure Sustainability Council Chief Executive Officer, Ainsley Simpson said, “The New South Wales Government’s commitment of more than $20 million to increase the number of women working in construction shows the important steps the industry is taking towards a more gender-balanced workplace.”
“Thanks to the Industry Innovation Program funding, the Infrastructure Sustainability Council is playing a part in breaking down cultural barriers that may prevent women from considering careers in this field.”
“The implementation of a skills framework and creation of resources will help companies throughout the industry to engage and attract women into construction roles,” Ms Simpson concluded.
For information on how to apply for grant funding, visit the New South Wales Government Industry Innovation Program Year 2 grants page at www.nsw.gov.au/grants-and-funding/industry-innovation-program-year-2.