Master Builders Association of NSW celebrates women in Building & Construction every day. On March 8th, it is a day when the world turns its attention to women’s equality. A day to imagine a gender-equal world. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BreakTheBias and we, at MBA NSW, are proud of our contribution to breaking the bias associated with women joining the building and construction industry.
MBA NSW is proud to support more women in building and construction than ever before. Of all MBA NSW carpentry apprentices, 6.5% are female. This is more than double the industry NSW average of 2%. There is a long way to go, but we are making progress. And that is worth celebrating.
MBA NSW are proactively leading the charge to remove traditional barriers to female entry and promote the industry as an attractive career opportunity for all genders and people from diverse backgrounds. We want it to be an industry in which women can thrive.
In 2022, our female apprentices are doing just that, thriving. Jemma Lawson is a fourth-year carpentry apprentice and MBA NSW’s 2021 Apprentice of the Year. She loves being on-site and is working towards being a Site Manager in the near future. “The job is great. Yes, it’s physical and yes, there are more men than women, but my hope is that people like me are making it easier for women in the future.”
“There are many opportunities and pathways to success in the industry.” Her advice for anyone looking to join the industry? “Be prepared to work hard, you need a good work ethic and having a good sense of humour helps.”
While Jemma may have been something of a novelty when she first started, she has quickly proved her mettle. Site Manager Mitchell Roberts says, “Jemma has been an asset to Grindley, that is certain. We could do with a lot more Jemma’s!”
And they just might have their way, with record numbers of female apprentices in 2022.
“Building and construction offers many opportunities and women represent a talent pool that the industry has been slow to access,” says Brian Seidler, Executive Director, MBA NSW. “Traditional barriers to entry have been about the bias towards it being a male’s job, with few role models for women and limited exposure to the industry at school. We are changing that. We are changing attitudes.”
We have valuable resources to assist women in construction, including very successful female apprenticeship training and mentoring programs.” says Brian Seidler. “We are invested in breaking down biases and making careers happen by promoting opportunities for women and employers by providing information, support and expert training.”
“Becoming an apprentice was the best decision I have made,” says Jemma Lawson.
Jemma’s impact on site was immediate. Mitchell Roberts, Site Manager Grindley Construction says, “Jemma was the first female apprentice I had worked with, and the first for our company when she joined us 3 years ago. She came onto a large commercial site and changed the dynamic immediately. For the better. We are more responsive, more inclusive, take more time and more care.”
Mitchell continues. “If you want further proof of what I think about the impact of females in building and construction, we now have Bronte, our second female apprentice on site. I look forward to that number continuing to grow.”
On International Women’s Day 2022, we celebrate all the women who are Breaking The Biases in industries around the world.