Trades lure for workers
It has never been a better time for age-old trade work, CareerOne Editor Cara Jenkin reports.
CHANGING stereotypes, professionalism and a return to high salaries is making many traditional trades attractive to a broader range of workers.
To address today’s skill shortages and competition for staff, many roles are going to have to continue to lure more non-traditional workers into occupations.
Many of the state’s traditional occupations have evolved amid improving technology and community attitude change to emerge now in a stronger position than they were 100 years ago.
Some occupations, such as wicker workers and brass moulders, have all but disappeared from the workforce in the past century through a lack of demand and technology. But this has been unable to replace many traditional trade roles, such as brewers, milliners and confectioners.
Building trades workers, such as plumbers, bricklayers and carpenters, have experienced a resurgence to return as among the highest paid and in demand tradespeople in SA.
Many traditional trades now require a formal tertiary or apprenticeship qualification. Women increasingly are employed in maledominated trades.
But encouraging and developing female talent and stronger pay for workers in other trades such as butchers and bakers will ensure workers continue to seek out traditional trade careers.
National Institute of Labour Studies director Professor Kostas Mavromaras says there still are some barriers to increasing the pool of talent for trades. He says participation statistics support an increasing acceptance in the labour market for women to do jobs which in the past were male-dominated roles.
brewer but that still is a rare occupation choice for women. SA Brewing Company, however, has two women – technical brewer Bronwyn Caldwell, 35, and t e c h n i c a l o f f i c e r Anna Ruszkiewicz, 27 – out of 20 brewers forging careers.
Ms Caldwell was interested in a product development career and applied for a role which happened to be at a brewery.
In becoming a brewer, she completed a tertiary degree in food science and diploma of brewing. ‘‘The process is quite complicated. You need a general understanding across many different disciplines,’’ she says.
She says it has not been difficult to work in the traditionally male domain, especially as many associated staff are women.
Ms Ruszkiewicz completed chemical engineering and finance tertiary degrees to pursue a career in the food and beverage industry.
A work-experience placement at a brewery sparked her interest in brewing and brought her back to the field after she worked in another industry for three years.
She now is studying the diploma of brewing and says men can outnumber women nine to one at breweries but there is no gender divide prohibiting f emale brewers. ‘‘For me, it was more of a gradual transition from my past experiences,’’ she says.
SA Brewing Company’s Anna Ruszkiewicz and Bronwyn Caldwell.