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Brandishing a paintbrush, driving a dozer, and tinkering with car engines have all been part of the experience for 11 female students from Canobolas Rural Technology High School who have been getting a taste for trades through the Girls Can Too program with TAFE NSW Orange.
As part of the program, the Year 10 girls have spent one day each week working in different trade areas talking to apprentices, teachers, and other experts about opportunities to join the industry.
The girls experimented with the tools of the trade in automotive, engineering, civil construction, electrotechnology, carpentry, painting, and decorating classrooms.
The NSW Government is paving the way for women and mature workers to take up trades, with a $57.4 million commitment for a new Trades Skills Pathways Centre in the 2020-21 NSW Budget and a Built for Women fee-free training program.
TAFE NSW Orange TAFE Services Coordinator Karen Pratt said the program was an exciting opportunity to encourage girls to consider a trade as a viable career choice. The Australian Bureau of Statistics Gender Indicators Report shows that in 2019-2020, women represented only 16.2 per cent of all technicians and tradespeople.
“With the NSW Government’s support for helping women move into trades and a greater acceptance of women being in that workforce, opportunities are growing for women to take up a trade,” Ms Pratt said.
“This program helps female students try a few of the many trade career options they can access by studying at TAFE NSW.”
After taking part in the program, at least four of the Canobolas students are now seeking apprenticeships or further work experience with local tradespeople.
Orange local Monique Jackson, 16, always wanted to become a motor mechanic. Participating in the course has strengthened her resolve to break into the industry.
“I’ve now applied for a school-based apprenticeship which means I can continue my school study while starting to learn light automotive skills,” she said.
“The TAFE NSW teachers and the other students I met really inspired me and I can see this is a field I really can work in.”
Meanwhile fellow student Jade Smith, 16, said the Girls Can Too program had changed her career goals.
“I thought I might become a paramedic, but now I’m looking at moving into civil construction because I love doing practical work and it was a real buzz to get behind the wheel of heavy machinery and see how I could shape the landscape,” she said.
For more information about the huge range of courses available at TAFE NSW, visit www.tafensw.edu.au.
Media contact: Jenny Tinworth, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0411 443 555.