Kelly leads the charge for women in trades
The latest research shows women make up 46.2% of the Australian workforce. When women are represented as 50.4% of the population, this result is what you would expect. Yet, with a shortage of apprentices and tradies, and the increased promotion of women entering trades, they still only make up 2% of the industry.
One person doing her bit to promote the benefits of hiring female tradies is Kelly Bateman who joined the team at Laser Electrical Dubbo as an apprentice earlier this year.
With her parent's encouragement, Kelly had been focussed on becoming an electrician since Year 9 and, with her teachers support, completed Year 11 and 12 through the TVET program which enables students to complete secondary schooling with a focus on job outcomes.
Kelly believes that the TVET program, in which she studied electro-technology, was pivotal in assisting her in finding an apprenticeship, however, just as important to Laser Electrical Dubbo’s Alex Klaassens, was Kelly’s attitude.
"Kelly was a breath of fresh air to our team,” said Alex before adding, “her ability to fit in well and in this short time build a high level of respect with staff, customers and suppliers is indicative of her great attitude.”
“She is very appreciative of the opportunity given to her and loves what she does. And isn't that one of the most important things in life!"
Currently studying at Western TAFE in Dubbo, Kelly is an anomaly, however, hasn’t experienced any issues as a female tradie.
“The reaction from other tradies, both at school and on the job site has been supportive” says Kelly, “They treat me like everyone else which is great. I am also getting positive reactions from customers with many seeing the benefits of having a female on the tools”.
While Kelly doesn’t believe there is any benefit to being male or female in the electrical trade, she does believe that practice is the key to making you better at the things which you may struggle with.
Managing Director of the Laser Group, Steve Keil agrees. “Suitability for a job isn’t determined by your sex. It’s about your attitude and desire to do the job. We have seen an increase in the number of females employed as plumbers and electricians across the Laser Group and, the one thing that all of their employers agree on is that the girl's attitudes were the primary reasons for hiring them.”
As the industry combats the shortage of tradies, Kelly believes that more should be done to encourage women who are interested in taking on a trade.
“Women need to believe that they can do it and then just do it” says Kelly. “It doesn’t matter that it’s a male dominated industry. If people say you can’t do it, prove them wrong and show them you can”.