In March 2022 eight young women completed a seven-week introduction to a career in trades typically dominated by men.
Participants were given hands-on experience across trades such as carpentry, automotive and electrical services.
For Kayla, a year 11 student, the program helped to clarify her thoughts about where she’d like to take her career.
“I enrolled because the program was giving me a pathway into something I’ve always wanted to do,” she says.
“I’ve always wanted to do an apprenticeship, and I wanted to have a go at all of them at the same time to see which one I was most interested in.
“Being involved was actually one of the best decisions – it was so good and enjoyable. I think everyone that did it loved it.
“I enjoyed auto and electrical, so I was thinking maybe auto-electrical (apprenticeship) doing diagnostics and car wires and stuff like that.
“I already had a pretty good understanding, especially about cars, but it just showed me a lot more than what I was expecting.”
Jo Dolby, a project support officer from the Apprenticeship Employment Network, says Kayla’s story is typical of many people who take part in similar programs.
“These women have been able to trial two or three trades and make a more informed decision about what they want to do,” she says.
“The feedback we’ve had and the women I’ve met have all been really positive. A lot of the girls here said they didn’t want it to end, so that’s really good to hear.
“There’s so many opportunities for women now, and that’s what we want.”
CVGT Australia group training manager Allison Gook says participants in the program were drawn from all over central Victoria.
“They were given insights into the level of dedication needed to earn an apprenticeship, but also formed some great friendships,” she says.
“It was heartening to see so many young women keen to take part, and it’s a trend I’d love to see continue!”
Kayla is thankful for the support she received over the seven-week course.
“We all love Allison – she is a mum to us,” Kayla says.
“It wouldn’t have happened without her.”
The Connecting Women to Trades program was run as a partnership between CVGT Australia, Bendigo TAFE and WomenCAN, with the support of the Apprenticeship Employment Network and several regional employers.