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Women in Trades event - celebrating and inspiring

The third annual Women in Trades event was held at the Proclima Hub in Auckland on Tuesday evening and was considered by attendees & supporters to be “the best yet!”

Women only make up 3% of the trades workforce so this specialty event provides an opportunity for women to meet, mix and mingle with tradeswomen, employers and trades training providers as they learn about different trades and the pathways to pursuing a career in the trades.

The afternoon started with the opportunity for attendees to “give it a go” in a variety of trades activities. The women tested their skills moving piles of dirt in a digger, setting up a scaffolding rig, raising a car on a pneumatic wrench and a range of other physical activities.

This was followed by a Keynote speech and panel discussion about the challenges and opportunities for women considering a trades career. The message to attendees was that traditional preconceptions about women entering trades are being broken down and they should not see it as a career only for the boys.

The keynote was delivered by Pip Buunk who received Women in Trades inaugural Keynote Speakers Award, sponsored by Mitre 10, for her groundbreaking role as New Zealand’s only registered female driller. Pip shared her inspiring story encouraging the women in attendance to follow their hearts and pursue the career that's right for them, not what might traditionally have been expected of them.

The panel was made up of a diverse group of women from across the trades spectrum -
• Jackie Mason, Registered Plumber and owner of Mason Plumbing Ltd.
• Harmony Court, Registered Electrician at Leck Electrical Ltd (first female winner of the Master
• Electrician’s Apprentice of the year Challenge).
• Brenna Bishop, pre-trade carpenter with Unitec/MPTT.
• Sarah Murray, Qualified Carpenter and Licensed Building Practitioner at Buildtech (Committee member of NAWIC - National Association of Women in Construction).
• Brooke Tawhara, Apprentice Alloy Boat Builder at McMullen & Wing.

The event was supported by a dedicated group of organisations who are committed to seeing more women enter the trades and trades training. Special acknowledgement must go to the ongoing support of Ministry for Women, BCITO, Skills, MITO and Johnstone Construction. New sponsors this year are Mitre 10, Proclima Hub and ETCO.

Daimler Teves, Trade Marketing Manager at Mitre 10, was thrilled to sponsor the Keynote award and be involved in the evening. He summed up the feeling of the Women in Trades supporters;
“A career in trades is not something women have traditionally considered or thought feasible, but this event seeks to change that.

We met many students keen to consider trade as a career, and hearing from Pip Buunk, the country’s only registered female driller was invaluable. It demonstrated that there is a place for women in industry and left many of the students feeling inspired to find out more.”
This was echoed by the women in attendance. Aynslee Wilson of Unitec expressed a sentiment felt across the evening;
“Seeing women who are tradespeople is empowering! I love knowing women can do it too and it is accepted in society.”

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