On the 8th September, the Ministry for Women held an event at SCIRT (Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team) to launch “Getting it Done’, a report outlining lessons around utilising women’s skills in the workforce from the Canterbury rebuild.
The report is actually a case study as to what is working in New Zealand right now, to increase the number of women in trades jobs. Women are significantly underrepresented across construction and trades, engineering and digital technology industries. These industries have been indicated as being likely to drive growth in New Zealand in the next five to 10 years.
In 2013, research was undertaken that uncovered the fact that women were being underutilised in a workforce crying out for additional labour post Canterbury earthquakes. This laid the way for some work to actively intervene and to grow the number of women participating in a non-traditional role.
Underpinning this work was one key tactic - to increase the visibility of women in the rebuild, whilst reducing any perceived barriers to taking part.
This included engaging with training bodies within the region to increase the number of women in trades related courses. CPIT saw their female enrolments in trades training rise from 50 in 2011, to 414 in 2014 when they introduced targeted programmes, marketing, and fees-free training for women.
Collaboration has also been important, with the Ministry convening an informal working group to tackle this issue. The group contained representatives from ITO’s, Research companies, infrastructure and construction companies, training bodies, government agencies and Associations. This was an action oriented group, where each organisation contributed to building visibility in a different way, based on their areas of influence and experience.
Access the report at http://women.govt.nz/documents/getting-it-done-utilising-womens-skills-workforce-2015