20 May 2024

Women encouraged to kick-start a career in construction through fee-free training

| Vanessa Hayden
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Woman in high-vis vest and construction helmet

New scholarships announced by The Institute of Applied Technology come at a time when the construction industry in Australia is facing a shortage of more than 100,000 workers. Photo: Supplied.

TAFE NSW is putting women and trades in the spotlight this month with two new initiatives designed to build capability in the building sector into the future.

On 22 May, TAFE NSW, in collaboration with the Department of Customer Service and Training Services NSW, is hosting a virtual event for girls in senior high school on pathways and opportunities in emerging trades.

It comes as TAFE NSW also announces a partnership arrangement which enables it to offer new scholarships for women to build careers in construction.

The virtual event is being staged at 6 pm on 22 May and has been especially designed for girls in Year 10 (although open for all NSW high school students) and will include presentations from young women already working in trades.

Students will learn about emerging and growing trades including clean and renewable energy, mechanical, engineering and sustainable eco-friendly construction. The event will show how trade careers blend traditional skills with new technologies to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Applications are also now open for the Women in Construction Scholarships which are being delivered by the Institute of Applied Technology Construction (IATC).

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IATC is a partnership between TAFE NSW, leading construction company CPB Contractors, and Western Sydney University. They have added three new ‘microskills’ to their suite of courses as well as 60 fee-free training places for women.

Co-designed with industry experts, microskills are online, bite-sized, self-directed courses. The new set focuses on topics critical for building capability in the construction sector now and into the future and include Introduction to Women in Construction, Introduction to Sustainability in Construction, and The Role of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in Construction.

Rob Monaci, CPB Contractors general manager Infrastructure NSW and ACT, said the fee-free training places came at a time when the construction industry in Australia was facing a shortage of more than 100,000 workers.

“As the pipeline of infrastructure continues to grow, particularly with the focus on housing and new energy, the need for more skilled workers is an industry-wide issue.

“We need to be doing more to attract people at all stages of their careers to transition into fulfilling careers in construction, particularly women.

“The introduction of the new microskills focused on women, sustainability and building information modelling are really exciting.

“Not only are they critical to the future of our industry, but they are also compelling in attracting new entrants to the workforce who are passionate about the role diversity, sustainability and digital technology plays in building the game-changing infrastructure projects set to roll out across our cities and regions.”

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Helen Fremlin, IATC’s director of operations said the free courses promoted a practical learning journey.

“Whether you choose online or face-to-face, these ‘microcredentials’ include regular educator-led sessions. These draw on industry specific examples, tasks, and case studies to give students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills directly with the support of educators.

“Part of the eligibility process requires women to complete two microskill courses. Microskills are free, two-hour, self-directed sessions, a great way to help get you started.”

The microcredentials take eight weeks to complete and provide industry-specific skills recognised as evidence of competence. They can be completed online or face-to-face.

Women in Construction Scholarship courses are aimed at high-growth areas and include:

  • Project Management Foundations in Construction
  • Introduction to Project Scope Management in Construction
  • Project Risk Management in Construction
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Management in Construction
  • Quality Management in Construction
  • 2D CAD Drawings and 3D Models in Construction
  • Introduction to Building Information Modelling (BIM) in Construction
  • Microsoft Office Foundations in Construction; and
  • Power BI Fundamentals in Construction

Western Sydney University Interim vice-chancellor and president, Professor Clare Pollock, said the suite of courses and scholarships would empower women in construction and would help to meet Australia’s workforce needs.

“The university has a proud history of opening up educational opportunities for students including talented women in our region.

“These innovative microskills and microcredentials will help students upskill and take advantage of skilled job opportunities in the fast-growing construction sector.”

Successful applicants will be offered a pre-class connection session to meet other women and visit a construction site in Sydney.

You can find out more by visiting the Institute of Applied Technology.

You can register for the Girls in Trades virtual event by visiting TAFE NSW.

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