Women apprentices on the rise?

Following on from our earlier blog post, women in the construction industry continues to be a ‘hot topic’ in the media.

This time, the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO), which estimates that women make up 17.5 per cent of the core construction sector, stated that a shortage of apprentices, combined with increasing demand for housing, may lead to more women joining the industry. The lack of supply and the growing demand is apparent in Southland especially, with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) predicting that the construction industry will increase by nearly 5 per cent during the next three years, while more apprentices are needed.

Colin Kelland, the president of the Southland Master Builders branch, is supportive of women apprentices working in the industry. He identified the biggest barriers to women in construction to be the traditional notion that construction was men’s work, and the attitudes of some employers who held to this notion. So far, his experiences with women apprentices have been positive, with them often working harder to prove themselves in the male-dominated industry.

Tradeswomen like Jessica Tinnock, who is in her sixth year at C Brown Builders, is described as an invaluable part of the business. With no prior experience or family connections to the industry, she decided to enter the construction world instead of opting for an office job, in search of a fun and dynamic occupation. It is a decision that she wouldn’t take back, with Brown considering Tinnock as one of his ‘top blokes’. Her advice to any women considering entering the construction industry is to just give it a go, and ‘don’t take anything to heart because workplace banter is just workplace banter’. Brown takes on apprentices at all levels, and currently has a third year, a first year and a female pre-trade apprentice.

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