Hiring A Female Apprentice


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We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master - Ernest Hemingway

Omesh Jethwani, NSW State Manager highlights the many reasons why the male dominated building and construction industry should throw its support behind the employment of female apprentices.

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Hiring A Female Apprentice

  1. 1. 32 mentoring JANUARY/MARCH 2014 AW Edwards Employee on Site HIRING A FEMALE APPRENTICE Omesh Jethwani, highlights why the male dominated construction industry should throw its support behind the employment of female apprentices. “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” Ernest Hemingway. NSW Schools and RTOs are reporting an increase in students from Year 10 onwards signing up to learn how to be carpenters, shopfitters, cabinetmakers, electricians or plumbers and what is even more fascinating is the sudden increase and interest of female students. It seems that more females are now choosing to train in the building trades, saying no and rejecting the more traditionally “female” roles of hairdressers, childcare workers and beauticians. Welcome to the growing trend of future tradeswomen who are trading in their high heels for boots and mingling with men on the work site. A shift in the trend is due to organisations similar to the Master Builders Association of NSW who have been promoting apprenticeships in schools in a way that challenges traditional gender stereotyping from an early stage, and will continue to do so. The NSW Government will spend $200,000 on programs to overcome some of the biggest stumbling blocks to female participation. Minister for Women the Hon. Pru Goward said 70 per cent of girls did not go on to university after finishing high school, and opening up trade apprenticeships would, “help these young women realise they can do other things beyond those roles traditionally reserved for them”. The difference between a male and a female candidate is that once a female candidate makes up her mind about pursuing a male dominated trade she has either researched and/or completed a pre-apprenticeship course in school or through an RTO and she usually ends up making a better apprentice. Gender should not play a role if an individual has the right attitude, determination and the willingness to learn. Females tend to have an eye for the finer details and are generally more committed to the job. Several Reasons Why Employers Should Hire a Female Apprentice: It will help address the skills shortages in the building industry and reduce youth unemployment; Employers will be able to attract more skilled workers. Employers can tap into a large pool of unskilled and under-utilised candidates. Female candidates are as capable, responsible and hard working as the male candidates; Employers can revitalise their business with a fresh outlook. It is a well-known fact that females see things differently. Females have different life experiences and are able to offer new perspectives, new approaches and a fresh outlook. Female candidates are able to assist businesses to innovate for a real competitive edge; Businesses will automatically improve their public image and market reach. Employers will be able to improve and increase their clientele if female apprentices are employed. If a company has women clientele it is beneficial to have female staff. Females understand the needs of female clients and can assist with identifying new opportunities and markets; It will help businesses improve morale and employee retention. Female candidates will stay and work longer with an organisation if they are accepted, accommodated, inducted and provided with a career pathway within the organisation. Companies from different industries who have already adopted this attitude have proven that hiring female apprentices can improve productivity and their bottom line. It is also a known fact that employees want to work for organisations that are appealing, vibrant, innovative and willing to adapt and adopt new ideas and offer career progression. To break the gender stereotyping even further, State and Commonwealth Governments should create better training and employment opportunities for young people and challenge gender stereotyping. The Master Builders Association will run a pre-apprenticeship course and mentoring program for female building apprentices in the first half of 2014. If you are interested in employing a female apprentice contact our CAMS Team: Omesh Jethwani, NSW State Manager or Jack Long, Apprenticeship Mentoring Officer on 02 8586 3555 or email ojethwani@mbansw.asn.au or jlong@mbansw.asn.au. The NSW Government through Women NSW supports the Women In Construction project.