Women urged to consider a trade in construction

  • Louise Upston
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Women

Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, and Employment, and Minister for Women, Louise Upston has today opened the inaugural Women in Trades Conference, where she’s encouraged more women to consider a career in the trades.

“People need to push aside gender stereotypes and encourage young women to consider careers in trades where there is high growth and high demand, like building and construction.” Ms Upston said.

The conference, hosted by Unitec and the Manukau Institute of Technology supports the ‘Got a Trade? Got it Made!’ campaign which aims to raise awareness of on-the-job training and career opportunities in New Zealand’s trades and service industries.

Many girls discount careers in trades as they have been traditionally considered as men’s jobs. It is up to educators, businesses and parents to ensure girls are not only aware of the opportunities that working in a trade can offer, but to make sure that opportunities are available irrespective of gender.”

The day-long conference was organised to highlight the importance to New Zealand of building capability in trades and the opportunities for young women to consider a career in the construction related trades. 

Ms Upston said, “We need to support our young women to broaden their horizons. A job in building and construction can be both rewarding and lucrative.”

“We know that women want to work in construction. Following the Christchurch earthquakes in 2011, the Ministry for Women led a project to increase the visibility of opportunities for women in construction. This meant the number of women employed in Canterbury’s construction industry quadrupled from 2,100 pre-earthquake to 8,600 as of June 2015, resulting in 17.8% of all construction workers in Canterbury being Women.”

Ms Upston said more employers are getting comfortable about employing women in jobs traditionally seen as better suited to men. Employers recognise that women bring a different set of abilities that helps to broaden a company’s overall set of skills.

“It’s not about women’s jobs or men’s jobs - they are just jobs that are in demand, and I want to ensure women have equal opportunities and equal choice in the careers they pursue.”