Southern Riverina News


By Zoe McMaugh

Two young women from Finley High School are among a small group to have been given a “taste” of a career in traditionally male dominated trades.

The Girls Can Too! program is designed to teach and empower the next generation of female tradies.

Held locally for the first time, the program graduates included Finley High School students Chelsea Coulson and Demi Marshall, as well as another six students from Deniliquin High School and Barham High School.

All eight girls were given the chance to learn more about a range of trades over a number of weeks.

Having completed a week of work experience in plumbing earlier in the year, Finley’s Chelsea Coulson saw it as the perfect opportunity to explore the career further.

But she said she’s not done exploring all her options just yet.

“I am still leaning toward plumbing, but I am doing my next work experience block (which is this week) in carpentry just to mix it up a bit,” she said.

“I also really liked the automotive side of it, and listening to the perspective of the women in trades who came to speak with us.”

Demi Marshall said while she enjoyed the course, she said it has affirmed for her that a career in traditional trades is not in her future.

“It was a good experience, but I think I want to go in another direction,” she said.

“I did enjoy the automotive part - pulling apart an engine and attempting to put it together again.”

The Girls Can Too! program is a joint venture between the Regional Industry Education Partnerships program, TAFE NSW and employment and training organisation Squad.

The girls had the opportunity to try their hands at carpentry, plumbing, tiling, automotive, construction and fabrication with local trainers and employers.

They also had the opportunity to hear from women who work with Hutcheon and Pearce and Cummins, who shared their journey of what it is like to work in their respective industries.

At last Wednesday’s graduation ceremony in Deniliquin, RIEP senior project officer Katie Friedlieb said the project was developed to help address the skills shortage of staff in the building and construction industry, and to encourage females in to non-traditional trades.

“Women are under represented in trades, making up only two per cent of qualified trade workers,” she said.

“There are many options available to each student now that this program has finished which includes employment, further vocational education and training study and school based apprenticeships and traineeships.

The team from Squad supported the program by donating work uniforms and delivering work readiness sessions, and gifted each of the girls a starter kit tool box along with their graduation certificates.





McPherson Media