11th July 2012
Women in Trades – Engineering
It is a well known fact that women in the traditional trades that we deal in are very under represented. At MIGAS we receive quite a few resumes from women who want to get into the heavy engineering trades. The unfortunate fact is that a vast majority of these applications are sent in by people who really haven’t researched their particular trade interest. When we bring them in for interview, we spend a lot of time educating them as to what is involved in doing their particular trade. Let me say right here, this is not unusual because we have to do a lot of education of the men who apply for our trades also, but on the whole the male applicants have tended to do a little more research and/or talked to someone in the trade they are interested in. Having said that, we do have quite a few female apprentices on our books in areas such as electrical, boiler making, diesel fitting and refrigeration. Most of these young ladies are excelling in their trade, and 9 times out of 10 show the boys up academically as well as technically.
We are currently active with Atlas Heavy Engineering on the north side of Brisbane in a program called Women in Welding where we are helping a number of pre trade qualified women get into apprenticeships in the boiler making trade. The initial feedback that we have had from this cooperative venture is that the standard of craftsmanship in the welding jobs that these women have done is superior to some of the men who have been through this workshop. We hope to place a number of these participants into apprenticeships where they can complete their trade qualifications and go on and advance their career within the engineering trade they have selected.
My advice to someone who is contemplating a trade based career is that before you go out and apply for an apprenticeship:
- Research the trade you are interested in. The MIGAS website is a great place to start and there are many other avenues for research – try the MSQ or the MSA website.
- After you have some ideas about what you want to do, try and find a tradesman who works in that particular vocational area.
- If you are still at school, go and talk to your careers advisor and your industrial arts teacher.
- Hunt down a company that specialises in the particular trade area you want to work in and ask them if you can visit their workshop/premises for a tour. You will be surprised at how many businesses will open their doors for someone who shows some initiative.
- Prepare your resume stating all your relevant experience and what efforts you have made to educate yourself around the trade you are interested in.
At MIGAS we spend a lot of time going to careers fairs and educating school leavers on career options within our engineering trades but nothing is as good as following the above steps. That way, when you get to the interview you can show the person who is talking to you that you know what you are talking about.
women in trades