Project Details

The Women in Trades Research seeks to answer three questions:

  • What are the characteristics of an effective learning journey for women entering trades?
  • How do employers influence the participation and success of women in trades?
  • What are the benchmarks against which progress in the participation and success of women in trades can be measured?

A three-year project, jointly commissioned by the Ministry for Women and Ako Aotearoa, to increase the participation and success of women in construction and engineering related trades where they are traditionally under-represented. A collaboration of five Industry Training Organisations, Manukau Institute of Technology, industry and educational organisations and secondary schools.

Aims: 

The primary aims of the project are to:

  • identify the characteristics of an effective learning journey for women entering trades
  • use that information to increase the participation and achievement of women in construction and engineering-related trades
  • increase equity in the workplace.

Methodology:

The project's methodology includes working directly with pre-trade and in-trade women; working with trade employers and working with data to establish benchmarks and measure change.

It includes:

  • defining problems and/or promotional issues
  • developing a plan of action
  • completing an action and/or intervention
  • completing reflection and analysis of outcomes
  • building and disseminating tools, resources or guides for women, employers, educators and leaders in learning and teaching.

A foundation group of organisations is involved in the research project led by the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO); Competenz; Connexis and the Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO); Skills; Auckland Māori and Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT); the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT); The Southern Initiative Māori and Pasifika Trades Training; Kelston Girls’ College; and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).

Team

bcito

Mark Williams

Project Leader

Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO)
bcito

Greg Durkin

BCITO
bcito

Loretta Garrow

BCITO
bcito

Erica Cumming

BCITO
competenz

Samantha McNaughton

Competenz
connexis

Kaarin Gaukrodger

Connexis
connexis

Taniya Scott

Connexis
MITO

Michelle Crompton

MITO
skills org

Arlene Galvez

Skills
ITF

Michael Ross

Industry Training Federation
MIT

Paul Hollings

Manakau Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT

Sophie Czurajewski-Sweeney

MIT
The Southern Initiative logo

Norm McKenzie

The Southern Initiative Māori and Pasifika Trades Training – Auckland City Council
Auckland Maori and Pasifika Trades Training

Sam Sefuiva

Auckland Māori and Pasifika Trades Training
NAWIC logo

Jenny Parker

National Association of Women in Construction

Kylie Traffard

Contract researcher

UMR logo

Marc Elliot

Contract Researcher

UMR
Scarlatti logo

Adam Barker

Contract Researcher

Scarlatti

Status

In progress

Funding

$671,000.00 (excl GST)

$150,000.00 National Project Fund
$521,000.00 Industry Funders

Key Findings

The perspective of successful women in trades

The interviews we had were with 35 successful women in trades. They identified four factors that influenced their workplace success:

  • Workplace environment: positive, supportive, focus on learning and progression
  • Work tasks: customer focus, working with a product they enjoyed
  • Nature of the job: physical opportunities, problem solving, collaboration
  • Personality: ability to manage negativity, lifelong learning, attitude towards working in a male dominated environment

The women described five main barriers to entering and working in the trades:

  • Lack of knowledge about the opportunities within the trades
  • Lack of work experience
  • Finding employers willing to employ women
  • Male-dominated culture of the trades
  • Lack of support for women in the trades

Employers' perspectives

Feedback from 565 employers described the greatest strengths women brought to the trades as being attention to detail, being easier on tools/machinery and softening workplace behaviours.

  • Companies with female employers or women in decision making roles were twice as likely to employ women in trades.
  • Companies with over 20 staff were three times more likely to employ women in trades.

What can employers do to attract more women tradespeople?

  • Broaden the base of people you talk to when looking for employees.
  • Advertise positions online, open up the pool of people who can work for you.
  • Offer flexible working arrangements as they work for everybody. Common options include:
    • part-time hours
    • staggered hours where staff have different start, break and finish times
    • flexi-time where staff have the freedom to work in the way they choose outside a set core of hours determined by the employer.
  • Build partnerships with education providers, e.g. Gateway, pre-trade and offer work experience.

Key Recommendations

Project overview

Part 1 – Research Programme Overview

This document provides an overview of the three projects.

(PDF, 1.7 MB, 25-pages)

  • 15 October 2019
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Report

Part 2 – How women have succeeded in trades where they are traditionally under-represented

This document unpacks the learning and career journey of 35 women who have succeeded in the trades and what we can learn from their experiences.

(PDF, 895 KB, 29-pages)

  • 15 October 2019
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Report

Part 3 – How employers have influenced the participation and success of women in trades where they have traditionally been under-represented

This documents analyses the feedback from a balanced mix of 565 employers who have or have not employed women.

(PDF, 1.5 MB, 44-pages)

  • 15 October 2019
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Report

Part 4 – Personas of women and employers in trade

The personas depict collective characteristics of successful women in the trades grouped into seven personas of women from part two and two employer personas from part three.

(PDF, 2.2 MB, 43-pages)

  • 15 October 2019
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