Department of Family and Community Services


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06 Sep 2012

Minister for Women Pru Goward and Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli today announced a joint campaign to encourage more women to work in non-traditional trades.

Ms Goward and Mr Piccoli along with the Member for Wollondilly Jai Rowell unveiled the Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) try-a-trade trailer featuring the new Women in Trades brand at one of the state’s most successful Trade Schools, Picton High School.

The campaign launch also announced $450,000 in funding from the NSW Board of Vocational Education and Training to encourage more young women to enter non-traditional trades and to understand to respond to barriers they may experience.

Minister Goward said learning a trade is a great career option for a young woman. Supporting girls and women into these trades makes good financial sense for them and for the NSW economy which is experiencing a trade skills shortage.

“These initiatives are the first of a number to be announced over coming months. This NSW Government priority benefits from the expertise and advice of the new Council for Women’s Economic Opportunity,” Ms Goward said.

“Non-traditional trades have significant earning potential, provide rewarding work, and flexibility in working hours that can enable women to find a healthy balance between their jobs and family lives.

“Women NSW will be seeking industry support to raise the profile and demand for this untapped-work force, to provide more opportunities for women and to foster workplace cultures that encourage female participation.

“Research shows that girls who have been exposed to tools at an earlier age, usually by their fathers, are more inclined to consider and enter a non-traditional trade. The SALT try-a-trade trailer provides an opportunity for girls and young women to handle tools under the direction of trained female tradespeople and mentors.”

Minister Piccoli said while NSW has many women working in hairdressing and the food industry, only a small number of women work in non-traditional trades.

“Women are only 5% of apprentices in the non-traditional trades - even less in some industries. In 2011 only 21 women commenced an apprenticeship or traineeship in carpentry and joinery compared to 2,433 men – less than 1 per cent.

“Only 37 women began studying to be an electrician, compared to 2,324 men - less than 2 per cent.

“NSW Board of Vocational Education and Training research will investigate the views of girls still at school, teachers, parents, careers advisers, employers, women training in non-traditional trades as well as providing support to women currently enrolled in non-traditional trades, to give them a better chance of completing,” Mr Piccoli said.

The SALT try-a-trade trailer is booked out until the end of the year, visiting community groups and schools in NSW to encourage girls and young women to consider a non-traditional trade such as plumbing, carpentry or electrical.

The trailer is being run by SALT, a not-for profit organisation run by volunteers who are passionate about supporting women considering a career in the trades.

Minister Goward is also presenting two first time awards tonight at the NSW Training Awards in the category of ‘Special award for a woman in a non-traditional trade or occupation – Metropolitan and Regional’.

The campaign consists of:

SALT Try-a-trade trailer:

  • Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) is a support network for tradeswomen, apprentices and women who wish to enter the trades.
  • Women NSW has funded SALT to purchase a portable trailer containing tools which will make its way around to schools and community groups across NSW.

Women in Trades brand:

  • The Women in Trades brand will provide a common identity for initiatives targeting women in non-traditional trades. It will provide high visibility and recognition to this issue. The new campaign will feature women currently working in the non-traditional trades.
  • The brand comprises a logo which can be placed on products and resources across Government, non-government and industry sectors. The brand provides a common identity for initiatives which are seeking to encourage women to enter non-traditional trades, occupations and industries.


  • There is a portal on the new Women NSW website which will provide extensive information and links for girls, apprentices and employers who are interested in working in the non-traditional trades.

$450,000 for research:

  • State Training Services was awarded $450,000 for a research and intervention project to take place in 2012-13 entitled Increasing the numbers of women working in non-traditional trades.

Media Contact: Simon Fontana 0467 738 139