MORE employers are needed to encourage female participation in non-traditional trades as part of the Orange Business Chamber’s Girls in Trades project.
The program will focus on increasing awareness in trades, strengthening relationships between schools, employers, educational and industry bodies, and the community across Orange, Cabonne and Blayney.
Project co-ordinator Tamara James said a non-traditional trade was considered to have less than 25 per cent female participation and the chamber hoped to place at least 50 students in the program.
“Our ultimate aim is to see them become apprentices or take on formal studies,” she said.
“A trade is completely transferrable - you can go off and have a family or travel, but there’s such a skills shortage, so you’re droughtproofing your career for the longer term.”
So far, six businesses have agreed to take on female students for work experience, but Ms James said more were needed.
PJL Group general manager David Lestrange said his business would offer experience in skills ranging from spray painting to boiler making and fitting.
He said by challenging traditional gender mixes, new opportunities were created.
“It’s about attitude and we want to employ the best tradies,” he said.
Angus Barrett Saddlery owner Angus Barrett wants to do all he can to alleviate the skills shortage in the saddlery industry, which has so far required him to train all his employees himself.
“In the 15 years I’ve been in business, I’m yet to have anyone walk through the door with the skills,” he said.
However, he said the market demanded Australian products and his work experience students would learn how to choose, form, cut and sew leather for the right job.
Businesses who want to get involved should call Ms James on 0408 461 236 or email email@example.com.
For updates on the project, like the Girls in Trades - Central West NSW page on Facebook.