Attracting more women to the Infrastructure Industry
Girls with Hi-Vis® - attracting more women to the Infrastructure Industry
15 June 2018: Contact Energy's Clyde Dam opened its doors yesterday for women to explore a career in the Infrastructure Industry.
Forty-five women took the opportunity to tour the dam and take part in some 'hands on activities' in a bid to entice them to seek a new career path. The open day is part of Girls with Hi-Vis® (GWHV) month, an annual initiative to encourage more women to join the Infrastructure Industry.
Connexis Board Chair Frances Hague says it was heartening to see so many women at the open day. "Girls with Hi-Vis® is a great initiative aimed at encouraging women to work in the Infrastructure Industry. It's a sector with plenty of job opportunities and a great career path for women - they just need to realise it exists.
"Although a career in infrastructure hasn't always been readily available to women there are so many opportunities within the sector. I encourage women to be brave in any decision they make and if they enjoyed the day to come and join us in the Infrastructure Industry."
Females only account for about 4% of employees in the Infrastructure Industries in general – an incredibly low figure given females make up 50% of the population, meaning that females are well under represented in the industry, GWHV is aiming to help change this.
GWHV is held throughout the month of June and the nationwide programme sees companies in the Civil, Energy, Telecommunication and 3Water industries open their doors for a day, specifically to women interested in knowing more about what they do and the career opportunities available.
Clyde Dam Generation Technician Jen McLean agrees that the Open Day was a huge success. "We had lots of hands-on learning, allowing the women opportunities that they may not have come across before. The feedback was great – the most common “downfall” was that the ladies wished they could have done all the 10 activities available instead of just two each!"
The most popular activities were stripping down defective pumps and motors, making up extension leads, and operating the powerhouse crane. "Some of the girls were already interested in a trade and the event has just cemented the decision; for others it was a complete revelation that, actually, university is not the be all and end all; there are various pathways to the same end result; a trade isn’t a “plan B” or “second best", Jen says.
"I will definitely be involved with GWHV next year and for the foreseeable future. It is something I hold dear to my heart and not just for the benefit of the young women but also for the growth of the business – we need to remain leaders in diversity and inclusion."
Connexis says that attracting more women to infrastructure careers is vital for the future of the sector, to ensure that it continues to grow and operate at world standard level.
Upcoming events include Meridian Energy in Twizel on June 21 as well as another in Wellington on June 25 specifically for school students. In the water sector, GWHV events include one hosted by Watercare in Mangere on June 20 and in the Civil sector Fulton Hogan in Christchurch on June 19.
For a full list of Girls with Hi-Vis® events and contact information visit www.connexis.org.nz/gwhv
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