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Female TAFE NSW tradies turn up the voltage on careers

Female TAFE NSW tradies turn up the voltage on careers

The changing face of the electrical trades and the continued strength of some of the region’s largest companies has “sparked” more females to enrol at TAFE NSW Newcastle.

TAFE NSW Newcastle Electrotechnology Teacher Derek Bailey said an increasing reliance on technology including electric vehicles and charging stations, computer technology, automation and renewable technologies, meant the demand for “sparkies” was surging.

“It’s such an exciting time to be an electrician and it’s a gateway to a lucrative career where you can work anywhere in the world. I have organisations ringing me regularly asking if I know of a good apprentice or qualified electrician.”

“Students in the course will learn hands-on practical skills including installing wiring systems, connecting electrical circuits and solving problems related to electrical equipment.”

“Increasing the number of women employed in the industry can contribute significantly to overcoming persistent skill shortages,” Mr Bailey said.

The NSW government last year announced support for 3,000 training places for women in trades with the funding intended to remove the cultural and social barriers keeping women from building sites.

New research reveals women comprise only 2 per cent of workers in construction. TAFE NSW provides women with pathways into a range of construction trades and already boasts a comparatively higher proportion of female enrolments in construction courses at 9 per cent. 

Kate Kaufmann and Lucy Nissen are both studying a Certificate III in Electrotechnology at TAFE NSW Newcastle and are urging others to consider a career in the industry.

Twenty seven year-old Kate worked as a personal trainer before making the switch to electrotechnology. Kate secured a job as an apprentice electrician with Australian Rail Track Corporation, where she works to maintain the signals, track circuits and electrical points across the railway network.

“I’ve always been a hands-on person and becoming an electrician has always interested me. It’s the type of work that ticks all the boxes. Electrotechnology is a great industry and I encourage other women who are considering pursuing a trade to contact TAFE NSW."

Lucy, 23, has secured employment at Ozlek Electrical in Newcastle and said the variety of work in the industry appealed to her.

“The opportunities are endless as the course provides a pathway to further training so apprentices can work in mining, maritime or countless other niche industries,” Ms Nissen said.

“Whether you’re a first-year apprentice or looking to change careers, the Certificate III in Electrotechnology will equip you with in-demand skills that industry is crying out for.”

TAFE NSW is urging businesses across the Hunter region to take advantage of the JobTrainer wage subsidy for new apprentices and trainees before the 31 March closing date.

To find out more about studying electrotechnology at TAFE NSW, phone 13 16 01 or visit


Media contact: Sarah Lievore, Communications Specialist,