Spike in female tradies amid COVID-19


MORE women are starting trades in a bid to get jobs, with a significant spike in females taking up engineering and automotive apprenticeships as the coronavirus pandemic causes    staggering levels of unemployment.

There has been a 32 per cent rise in women starting engineering apprenticeships and a 19 per cent increase in    automotive training this year across Queensland TAFEs and other registered training organisations, according to data from the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training

The spike comes amid the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen the Queensland unemployment rate hit 8.8 per cent in July, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics employment figures.

Apprentice boilermaker Melanie Millar, 21, working at Rock Press, Acacia Ridge. Photographer: Liam Kidston
Apprentice boilermaker Melanie Millar, 21, working at Rock Press, Acacia Ridge. Photographer: Liam Kidston

Training and Skills Development Minister Shannon Fentiman said skills and training would play a crucial role in the state's economic recovery post COVID-19.

"And it's fantastic to see that more women are pursuing a qualification in traditionally male-dominated industries such as automotive and engineering in the past year," Ms Fentiman said.

"As our economy transitions, Queensland will need more skilled workers in high growth industries so it's great news to not only see increases in enrolments, but that more women are actively pursuing this career pathway."

Apprentice boilermaker Melanie Millar, 21, who is employed by group training organisation OSMAC said it was great more women were taking up trades.

"I feel like girls are scared because it's a male dominated trade. I get it, I was terrified when I first started but you shouldn't underestimate yourself. I'm a female but I can still do everything else all the boys do," she said.

OSMAC Apprenticeships general manager Ahmed Saloojee said female apprentices were highly sought after.

"OSMAC Apprenticeships has been fortunate to have indentured a number of female apprentices into engineering and automotive trades, the majority of which have been standout tradespeople," he said.

 "We need to encourage more females to pursue VET pathways and it's great to see that female apprenticeship numbers are continuing to increase, particularly across trades areas once deemed to be heavily male dominated."

Originally published as Spike in female tradies amid COVID-19