Female students at Murrumbidgee Regional High School (MRHS) have benefitted from a program aimed at supporting women interested in pursuing a careers in a trade.
SALT (Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen) provides support and mentoring to prospective tradeswomen nationwide, linking women already working in a trade with those who are keen to get started in an industry heavily saturated by men.
Currently women total a mere two percent of the Australian trades workforce.
Head Teacher of TAS at MRHS Chris Parkin said the 19 girls who took part in the SALT workshop really enjoyed the opportunity.
"The girls worked in dedicated small groups with a tradeswoman and had meaningful discussions, gaining insights into what it is like being a woman and working in a trade," Mr Parkin said.
"We want to promote that yes, girls can do trades and that they can perform well".
The goal of the program is to provide avenues for women to meet other tradeswomen and share their experiences, advocate for a change in attitudes towards women in trades and promote diversity in trades.
According to Mr Parkin, whilst the uptake by female students of trade related subjects at MRHS had slowly increased, there was still a long way to go to open up in the male dominated sector.
"Women working in trades is becoming less stigmatised and we want to continue to strongly encouraged and creating learning opportunities for our female students to pursue," Mr Parkin said.
Former MRHS student and local tradeswoman Laura Brown told The Area News that programs like SALT were a great way to minimise the barriers that girls interested in trades may face, both externally and within themselves.
"The barriers have lessened but they are still there and unfortunately there are still many girls who still and will struggle to pursue a career as a tradeswoman because they find it intimidating and feel like they don't have the support," Miss Brown said.
"It is a big mental game because working as a tradeswoman just isn't a mainstream occupation for women to do.
"But I do encourage any girls interested to give it a red hot crack because you never know if you don't try."
More information about about SALT can be found at https://saltaustralia.org.au/
To read more about the opportunities, barriers and support available for women interested in pursuing a trade please visit https://tradeswomenaustralia.com.au/
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