An event established to address the underrepresentation of women in trades in Murihiku Southland is proving popular amongst high school students.
Now in its third year, Girls in Trades is a key initiative within Great South’s Southland Youth Futures programme and gives year 11 and 12 students the opportunity to experience trades hands-on.
This year’s event is in Invercargill on Tuesday 27 June and 90 students from 10 schools will be taking part.
Great South Southland Youth Futures Team Manager Renata Gill said the event was significant as it provided a platform for young women to consider trades as a viable career choice, and a safe environment for them to ask questions they might not otherwise have the opportunity to.
“Most importantly they can give it a go and see if it aligns with their interests. They can also ask things they’re too scared to ask in front of the boys.”
About 10 employers and organisations, including SIT | Te Pūkenga were involved in the event and there were 13 activity stations where they could try out anything from changing car tyres to painting walls to operating a digger.
There would also be stands where students could chat with young female apprentices, trades people or mentors.
“They really relish the opportunity to hear from someone who has been there and done that and to learn about the challenges of working in a male-dominated trade.”
Some schools don’t have wood or metal work rooms so there is little opportunity to try it out.
“Students aren’t going to get interested in something they know nothing about. This event is a try before you buy opportunity.”