26 September 2023

Apprenticeship experience to be tested

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The Queensland Training Ombudsman is to review the experiences of the State’s apprentices, with a focus on removing barriers for women in traditionally male-dominated trades.

The Ombudsman will especially consider how to address incidents of bullying and harassment of women in these trades and industries.

Minister for Training and Skills Development, Di Farmer said there was a need to review the support measures available to apprentices and trainees as they were the skilled workers the economy would rely on in the future.

“The Government has made gender equity a key priority throughout our policy-making and that absolutely includes women training in traditionally male-dominated trades,” Ms Farmer said.

“Our work is already making a difference,” she said.

“At TAFE, 53 per cent of those taking up vocational education and training funded programs are women.

“Public bodies like Q-Build have set targets for female participation and currently 14 per cent of those on its worksites are women.”

She said in Queensland, the number of female engineering trainees had increased by more than 500 per cent in the past year and female engineering apprentices by 22 per cent.

“There’s clearly more to do, but we are making good progress when it comes to recruiting women to these traditionally male-dominated trades,” Ms Farmer said.

“However, it’s not just about recruitment, we need to make sure apprentices and trainees have a positive experience during their training, so that they complete their qualifications and enter the workforce.”

The Minister said she had heard too many stories about work environments that created barriers for women.

“This includes stories of direct bullying and harassment simply because they are women and that’s something no woman should have to endure,” she said.

“It’s critical that these barriers are removed so that women can complete their training.”

Ms Farmer said the Training Ombudsman would identify any gaps or improvements that could be made and would recommend additional measures, especially around reducing instances of harassment and other poor treatment, if needed.

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