girls of steel program offers route to apprenticeships

Image: Career opportunities: The Girls of Steel program aims to encourage female participation and reduce barriers to increase women in trades. Photo: Steve Huntley

Source: Benella Ensign.

Girls of Steel program offers route to apprenticeship

A new program assisting females to gain skills for an apprenticeship in non-traditional trades opens in Wangaratta this month.

The Girls of Steel Program, facilitated by The Skill Engineer, aims to foster gender diversity in the workplace.

Across Australia about 12 per cent of the engineering labour workforce is female.

The Girls of Steel program combines training and job skills with the aim of employment on completion.

The Skill Engineer managing director Brendan Ritchens said the premise was to encourage female participation and reduce barriers to increase women in trades.

“The program is unique in the sense the girls are doing a course specifically aimed at women,” Mr Ritchens said.

“The pastoral care of the student cohort is catered for.

“They will be working in a live engineering industrial environment rather than a classroom.

“The first intake of students were enthusiastic and embraced the style of learning that we offered.

“Being quite different to a traditional TAFE model, they worked in a live workshop environment surrounded by other professionals doing commercial work at the same time as they were learning.

“Students have been presented with opportunities to go out on job sites in a paid capacity on occasions to help reinforce the whole concept of what the course can offer.

“We’ve got a list of local companies who have reached out and expressed interest in securing graduates from Girls of Steel to go into apprenticeships once the course finishes.

“We’ve already transitioned three young women into trades and are extremely proud of them …

“There are a lot of career opportunities in the engineering field and a lot of opportunity for advancement in the field once you’re in there.

“Don’t be turned off thinking it’s a traditionally male-dominated field.”

The free course is underpinned by a Certificate II in Engineering Pathways and a Certificate I in Work Skills, undertaken in a local engineering workshop.

The course is project-based, including the manufacture of park furniture for councils, sculptures, trailers, signposts and bespoke letterboxes.

The course is available for women aged 17 and over, and runs during school hours within school terms.

Registrations are now open for the second intake of students. Those who are interested should register at