Victoria unveils new initiatives to attract women to manufacturing and energy sectors

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Image credit: Jeson/stock.adobe.com

The Victorian Government has introduced new initiatives to support more women to enter and succeed in male-dominated manufacturing and energy industries, driving progress towards gender equality in the workplace.

Minister for Women Natalie Hutchins visited Nestle’s Campbellfield factory with Pascoe Vale Girls College students to announce an investment of $840,000 to deliver targeted programs to help students ‘try a trade’, provide mentoring for women employed in these industries and help them progress to senior positions.

The funding is the first tranche of a $2.7 million fund to support the energy and manufacturing sectors to attract, recruit and retain women and remove barriers in these historically male-dominated workforces – a key part of the Government’s response to the Inquiry into Economic Equity for Victorian Women.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union partners with TAFEs, girls and non-binary school students to deliver hands-on visits by tradeswomen, visit workplaces, careers and jobs expos, participate in ‘try a trade’ activities and school-based apprenticeships and work experience.

Victorian Trades Hall Council projects include delivering an introduction to industry sessions, developing and delivering an online Job Readiness program and upskilling employers through Safe and Respectful Workplaces training to make them more inclusive for women, First Nations and culturally diverse communities.

A new Victorian Mentee Sponsorship Program will be one of the priorities for the National Association of Women in Operations, to attract more Victorian women working in operations to be mentored by highly regarded senior operations leaders from the manufacturing and energy industries.

The Australian Women in Solar Energy will deliver a program in partnership with Victorian Local Learning and Employment Networks, encouraging girls and non-binary school students to consider a career in the renewable energy sector, with initiatives such as school visits by a range of skilled women in the industry.

Minister Hutchins emphasised that boosting the participation of women in manufacturing and energy sectors is crucial for alleviating workforce challenges and advancing gender equality.

“This funding will scale up existing programs to support women to have meaningful careers in the manufacturing and energy industries across our state,” the minister noted.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Secretary for Jobs Bronwyn Halfpenny highlighted the importance of increasing the presence of girls and women in trades.
She asserted that everyone, regardless of gender, should have the freedom to pursue their chosen careers in Victoria.

“Increasing the number of girls and women in trades makes workplaces more inclusive and increases opportunities. All Victorians should be able to work in jobs they choose regardless of their gender,” she concluded.