Topic: Education

Trades course champions gender equality in construction

By Leah Te Whata

Māori and Pasifika women are smashing into the male-dominated construction industry with the launch of a new trades course run by Destination Trades.

An opportunity has arisen for a group of 20 Māori and Pasifika women, it is the first of its kind.

Student, Mya Morrison-Middleton says, "We learn all the basics of working on a construction site and I’m going to get my site safe certificate and I'm going to get my learners license, then we can go into apprenticeships from here or go into different trades and get placements and see where we can go in the industry. It's like a whole new world."

In recent years the demand for women in trades has increased.

Christina Rogstad, Kaiwhakahaere says, "Industry is saying we want women, we know they're better workers, we know they have a better attention to detail, they're easier on the gear they're safer because they follow instructions, they take the testosterone out of the air when they come onto a work site."

Construction has no gender, a clear message that was heard at today's opening.

Student, Felicia Selwyn says, “In the beginning, I was always taught that we were supposed to have girl jobs, once this opportunity came, I thought it was the best thing ever that I can get out there and be able to do it on my own and make money and support my family."

Organisers are hoping to pave the way for future tradeswomen.

Rogstad says, “These women are very brave they're the first ones. This is the biggest intake of women that are getting ready to go into construction jobs and apprenticeships and we're hoping that they will be role models for hundreds and hundreds of girls and women that are going to come after this."

The first intake will graduate in 10 weeks time.