Kangan Institute Blog

The Female Tradie Revolution

Women are taking the trade industry by storm and leading a revolution that empowers all workers in their industries.

Have you ever thought about getting into a trade, but been intimidated by the thought of being the only woman? Learn more about the opportunity for women in trades and how women are making a strong, positive impact on the industry.

The Numbers

Over the past few years, the trade industry has been flooded with women who are bringing their own unique skills to these trades. Though trades such as construction, automotive and plumbing may have seen like men’s work in the past, that image is quickly fading away as more women come into the trade and work alongside men.

The numbers are showing this to be true. According to Master Builders Construction Apprentice Mentoring Scheme (CAMS), 12 percent of the construction workforce is made up of women, and the numbers keep growing each year. In 2012 alone, there were “171 female apprentice carpenters, 138 female apprentice painters and 93 apprentice plumbers.”

Other trades are experiencing large shortages of labour, and they’re looking to women to fill those gaps. According to the New South Wales government, only 0.8 percent of the motor mechanics trade was made up of women in 2012, and in many other trades, such as roof tilers and floor finishers, barely any women entered the trade.

“Skill shortages can create critical short term and long term problems for Australia’s economic health and the quality of life for Australians,” says a report from the NSW government entitled “Why increase the participation of women in trades?”. “Increased female participation in the workforce will result in significant economic gains while improving women’s relative pay will result in an increase in female participation in the workforce.”

The bottom line is that more women in the trades industry means better economic opportunities for Australia.

Why Work In A Trade?

Part of the reason why so many women are entering trades is because of the job stability and security. A career in the automotive trade, for example, continues to thrive as cars remain the primary mode of transportation for many Australians, especially those outside of big cities. This also means that no matter where you live, you can be certain that there will be a car dealership or mechanic shop in need of a skilled tradesperson.

Like men, many women simply enjoy these trades because they like working with their hands. They take pride in building homes, fixing leaky pipes and replacing alternators on cars, and they enjoy feeling a bit creative in their work. Trades offer so many different opportunities for employment that work rarely ever becomes dull.

Depending on the job, most trades will pay more than enough to support a family, another reason why women turn to trades. According to PayScale, Australian construction labourers make an average of $21.31 per hour. The median hourly wage for a plumber in Australia is $27.40 per hour, and automotive workers in Australia make about $22.87 per hour. All of these wages are more than enough to support a growing family.

Another reason why many women turn to trades is the hours and potential for flexibility. Construction work often starts early in the morning and finishes in the early afternoon, allowing for more time home with the family at night. Automotive electricians and technicians usually work 9-5 hours, and many plumbers can make their own schedules. Because of all these options, many women feel they can better balance their home and career lives.

Support for women in trades has also grown, leading to a great network of both men and women who encourage interested women to get out there and try a trade. Women in trades can look to groups such as Lady Tradies Australia and the National Association of Women in Construction for support and networking opportunities as they become more familiar with trades.

Get Certified

The best way to lead the revolution is to get certified and start working. With a certificate or diploma at Kangan Institute, you’ll feel confident in your skills and abilities to start working in your field. Our trained professionals have industry experience and can help you cultivate your skill set to make you more competitive in the employment market.

By getting certified, you’ll also have the opportunity to start apprenticeships in your industry and connect with other professionals. You’ll begin to build a network of supports - both male and female - who want to see you succeed. Kangan itself offers students their full support as they look for jobs and apprenticeships in their fields.

Female tradies have so much to offer this thriving industry. Be a part of this revolution and start working in a rewarding career track that offers plenty of employment opportunities and room for self-fulfillment.

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