Indigenous women making their mark as tradies

9th April 2019 , Brooke Fryer

A national Indigenous recruitment service is successfully placing Aboriginal women into a typically male-dominated workforce through an intensive traineeship.

Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) has trained over 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women over the last 12 months in construction through a one-week pre-employment program.

Seventy-five of these women have gained full-time positions and the others have obtained casual employment in the industry.

AES CEO Kristy Masella told NITV News the programs are culturally competent and set the students up with relevant industry skills.

“It’s not about women just being lollipop ladies… it’s about getting Aboriginal women as project managers [and] in professional roles,” she said.

Wiradjuri woman from Camden, south-west Sydney, Tarni Proberts-Roberts and her sister have gained full-time jobs in the construction industry after completing the intensive pre-employment iTradies program.

Ms Proberts-Roberts, 25, is now a Procurement Assistant at Lendlease Crown Resorts in Sydney. She said without the traineeship she wouldn’t have obtained her Certificate One in Construction.

“I think these pre-employment programs are amazing for opening up the gateway for those opportunities. I definitely don’t think I’d be where I am today without that,” she said.

“It’s amazing that they (AES) do have all these opportunities and they do want to see more women in construction.”

Ms Proberts-Roberts said the construction industry is becoming more gender equal, and more women should be making the leap into construction jobs.

“I think it’s becoming a woman’s world…and I think women have the skills and it would be nice to see more women out there,” she said.

The 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that trade workers, also known as construction, was the third highest industry that Indigenous people were employed into, after community service workers and labourers.

Only 10 per cent of the almost 24,000 Indigneous people in construction were women.

AES also offers pre-employment traineeships for both men and women in civil construction, transport and traffic control.

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