Women in Trades - Understanding Resilience

Project members : Dr Donna Bridges; Dr Larissa Bamberry; Assoc Professor Branka Krivokapic-Skoko and Dr Elizabeth Wulff

Contact : dbridges@csu.edu.au

The pilot study was conducted between 2018-2020. This cross-faculty, multidisciplinary research brought together industry in three consultations across regional NSW and eastern Victoria. We engaged with approximately 70 stakeholders from apprenticeship and employer networks, education providers and government agencies. We brought these groups together to discuss their experience of the recruitment and retention of tradeswomen and women apprentices. This aspect of the research culminated in the report “A Trade of One’s Own:  Regional NSW stakeholder findings” which was launched during Social Sciences Week in September and the 2019 peer reviewed publication “Skills for women tradies in regional Australia: A global future”. International Journal of Training Research.

We also conducted qualitative interviews and focus groups with stakeholders, including 15 interviews with tradeswomen and apprentices. Our industry inclusive engagement has generated extensive interest in our communities and resulted in over 30 media engagements, including a recent appearance on the 7News, television show Sunrise in a segment titled “‘Lady Tradies’ Needed To Help Australia Rebuild After COVID-19 Pandemic”.

In the period from Feb 2018 to Sept 2020 the team have worked together to present twelve conference presentations, publications in industry specific magazines and a peer reviewed journal article “Negotiating gender in the male-dominated skilled trades: a systematic literature review” 2020 in Construction Management and Economics. We have four additional peer reviewed journal articles currently in the review process.

During this period, we were approached by the Hon Bronnie Taylor, NSW Minister for Women to host an event at CSU during Women’s Week 2020.

The ‘Women in the Skilled Trades: Understanding Resilience’ study, with its unique research design, used the concepts of resilient people & flourishing communities as a positive framework to develop an understanding of how women can be supported to achieve success and longevity in male-dominated occupations through government and industry intervention.