- $42.2M will be allocated towards STEM schoalrships for women in construcion
- The NAWIC is undergoing a roadshow featuring VR tours
- Less than 5% of Queensland's construction workers are women
The National Association for Women in Construction (NAWIC) has said it supports measures in the federal budget to address the gender gap in the traditionally male-dominated construction industry.
$42.2 million in the budget is being directed towards STEM scholarships for women along with 5,000 extra training places in non-traditional trades.
NAWIC’s Fiona Lamari says the funding is a step in the right direction, especially given the organisation is currently conducting a roadshow across Queensland schools to incite women to consider career opportunities within the industry.
As part of this roadshow, students will be able to participle in a unique virtual reality program that allows students to ‘experience’ a virtual walk-through tour, enabling participants to ‘meet’ with various trades working on a construction site.
The virtual site tour is then followed by a panel discussion.
“I developed the virtual site tour because we needed an engaging way to show young women all the different jobs on offer. There’s a misconception that construction is all about bricks and mortar, but it’s so much more than that.”
Fiona Lamari, NAWIC
Dr Lamari, who is a Senior Lecturer in Construction Management at the Queensland University of Technology, said she wanted to create awareness of opportunities for women in the industry.
She highlighted concerning data from the latest Construction Skills Queensland report that shows only 821 women were enrolled in construction apprenticeship courses during 2020.
To put this into comparison, 20,000 men enrolled in such courses over the same time frame.
“While female construction-based apprenticeships have increased from 431 enrolments in 2010, women still only represent 15 per cent of Queensland’s construction workforce, with less than five per cent ‘on the tools’.”
“NAWIC’s mission is to lift the female participation rate to 30 per cent – it’s ambitious, but achievable, with additional funding in the budget and the VR headset school tour both helping us towards this target.”