En­cour­ag­ing women

The Advertiser - Careers - - Hospitality, Travel & Tourism Child Care Self Empl - JESSICA HAYNES

WOMEN work­ing in the re­source and de­fence in­dus­try in South Aus­tralia are get­ting the chance to de­velop their knowl­edge and skills in a bid to keep and en­cour­age fe­male work­ers in the in­dus­try.

A joint State Gov­ern­ment and in­dus­try ini­tia­tive is in­volv­ing 60 women al­ready work­ing in the in­dus­try in a range of lead­er­ship work­shops and pro­grams to strengthen their abil­i­ties in men­tor­ing other women through­out their work.

While sup­port for women in these in­dus­tries is grow­ing, the sec­tor re­mains male-dom­i­nated as only 8 per cent of staff is fe­male.

Cavpower hu­man re­sources man­ager and mem­ber of the Women In­flu­enc­ing the De­fence and Re­sources In­dus­tries pro­gram Deb Nor­man says en­cour­ag­ing and de­vel­op­ing women is an es­sen­tial part of her job.

‘‘Strong fe­male lead­er­ship within the in­dus­try is im­por­tant to en­sure in­creas­ing fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion in the work­force is en­cour­aged, sup­ported and is ef­fec­tive in con­tribut­ing to the in­dus­try’s suc­cess­ful growth,’’ she says.

‘‘Fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion must in­crease if we are go­ing to meet cur­rent and fu­ture de­mand.

‘‘From a busi­ness and eco­nomic per­spec­tive, it’s im­por­tant for us to tap into un­der-utilised groups of peo­ple, like women.’’

Cavpower pro­vides Cater­pil­lar equip­ment and main­te­nance for South Aus­tralia and Bro­ken Hill and while 13 per cent of their 500-strong work­force are women, many of these women are in tra­di­tional oc­cu­pa­tions. Ms Nor­man says the in­dus­try needs to un­der­stand the rea­sons why women choose to stay in the work­force and use that to en­cour­age more women into the field.

‘‘As an in­dus­try, we need to look past what tra­di­tion­ally has been suc­cess­ful for the male-dom­i­nated work­force and con­sider what changes might be nec­es­sary to at­tract and re­tain more women,’’ she says. ‘‘Flex­i­ble or part-time work­ing hours, dif­fer­ent ros­ters or shift pat­terns and the lo­ca­tion of work are all el­e­ments to con­sider.’’

The op­por­tu­nity for women such as Cavpower ap­pren­tice diesel me­chanic Brydee Martin to re­ceive sup­port and men­tor­ing from Ms Nor­man is just one of the ben­e­fits of the pro­gram.

The 19-year-old, who is in the sec­ond year of her ap­pren­tice­ship, orig­i­nally from a farm in the state’s South-East, has al­ways wanted to work with equip­ment out­doors.

‘‘Cavpower’s been re­ally good,’’ she says.

‘‘Man­age­ment’s door is al­ways open, ev­ery­one’s been re­ally sup­port­ive and looks out for me but they don’t ex­pect any less of me, which is good’’.

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