Research suggests Queensland’s female trade participation is increasing. Photo: Eddie Safarik
Research suggests Queensland’s female trade participation is increasing. Photo: Eddie Safarik

Women in trades doubles in Central Queensland

Central Queensland has recorded one of the highest rates of female trade apprentices in the state, the numbers having doubled in the past decade.

Research released on Monday by Construction Skills Queensland showed the state’s female trade participation increased from 5,300 in 2000 to 13,500 last year; a “strong positive trend” according to CSQ.

CSQ research in 2018 put female trade participation at 3 per cent.

The latest figures show women now account for nearly 5 per cent of Queensland’s construction trades.

The most popular training areas for female apprentices were high-skill trades, such as electrical and earthmoving plant operators.

The research also indicated a much higher rate of part-time jobs for women, 44 per cent compared with 9 per cent for men, and a preference for less traditional trades.

CSQ Research director Robert Sobyra said while the numbers were still low, progress was undeniable.

“Women account for around 17 per cent of all people employed by Central Queensland construction firms but that figure is significantly reduced when we look at only those employees ‘on the tools’ in trade and labouring roles,” he said.

“The CSQ Women in Construction update shows positive trends including a narrowing of the gender participation gap, particularly in the trades.

“Attracting women to the industry has always been a challenge, but recent trends suggest the mould may have finally been broken with the percentage of women in trades increasing to almost 5 per cent, having previously hovered around 2-3 per cent.”

Mr Sobyra said the increase in women doing apprenticeships was a further positive sign.

“Female construction apprentices almost doubled over the last decade, during a time that saw male apprentice numbers stagnate and fall,” he said.

“In 2010, only 3 per cent of Central Queensland trade apprentices were women. Last year that had doubled to 6 per cent.

“We can see a strong correlation between these female training numbers and the overall representation of women in these local industries.

“This will take time, but an upward trend has clearly begun.”



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