Topic: Education

Call for more women in trades training

By Harata Brown
  • Auckland

Today is International Women's day, so Māori and Pasifika Trades Training is calling on women to learn a trade to help meet the demand for tradespeople in New Zealand.

Elizabeth Cruickshank is the only woman in her carpentry class at Manukau Institute of Technology.  She believes by having more women in trades, gender stereotypes could change over time. 

Cruickshank (Samoan descent) says, "To be able to combat those thoughts of, if you feel as a woman you are not as strong as a guy. I struggle with that sometimes."

Women only made up 5 percent of all tradespeople in 2013.  The organisation, Māori Pasifika Trades Training, want more women in the trades sector.  

Auckland Project Manager Kirk Sargent says, "We need to de-stigmatise the trades. We need people who can think really well, work hard and can get into there. Women absolutely fit into that category and are underutilized within the trades workforce."  

Last year, 23 percent of Māori and Pacific trades trainees were women.

Senior Lecturer in Construction and Trades at Manukau Institute of Technology Ra Watene says female students like 'Liz' are successful students, who will continue to thrive when they transition into work. 

"I think women add another concept to the industry its self because within the field. They can go a long way in the industry and you can get into supervision, management and quantity surveying. Some of the girls we have here, you know Liz is one of them. She could go on to management and the guys that we have working next to her today, she could tell them what they have to do."  

Maori Pasifika Trades Training wants to see the percentage of women in trades training rising to 40 percent in the next four years.