Government move to lift women in construction numbers

Industry to benefit from initiatives to drive more women into non-traditional careers.

A group of six women and one man wearing hardhats A group of six women and one man wearing hardhats
Image: Pilot project: Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education Minister Steve Whan and Minister for Women Jodie Harrison meet with women construction workers at the Randwick Children's Hospital site.

The NSW Labor Government is continuing strong investment in the NSW Women in Construction Program, supporting work needed to progress a significant shift in the construction industry.

As part of this initiative, a number of projects are piloting increased targets for women in trades and non-traditional construction roles across the state.

Currently underway, the Women in Construction Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program has strategically funded 16 project officers on 19 government infrastructure projects across the state, including:

  • Powerhouse Parramatta, Parramatta
  • Wentworth Point new high school, Wentworth Point
  • M7/M12 Integration Project, Cecil Park
  • Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick
  • Newell Highway Upgrade - New Dubbo Bridge, Dubbo

The project officers directly support contractors and sub-contractors to achieve these targets and will identify and report on progress, lessons learned, issues and barriers and develop strategies and initiatives to achieve these targets.

They also link workers with available training opportunities and resources and connect with local schools and universities to work towards building a pipeline of workers.

Early reports indicate positive progress, with an increase in women’s participation on the pilot project sites.

With a significant government investment of $117 billion into the infrastructure pipeline over the next 4 years, the need to diversity the construction workforce is not just a priority, but a necessity.

The NSW Government plans to leverage data from these pilot projects to assess the viability of implementing mandatory women in construction targets for all future government infrastructure projects.

For more information on this transformative program visit:

Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education Steve Whan said:

“This latest proposal was developed using the success of the Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program which has demonstrated that all targets can be achieved and in a number of cases over-achieved.

“The current Infrastructure Skills Legacy target for women in trades is 2 per cent. We are looking to increase this to 4 per cent as part of this initiative.

“Recent data from Training Services NSW indicates that women in construction trade apprenticeships has already increased from 1 per cent to 2.5 per cent.

“This is just one of many NSW Government-led initiatives aimed at delivering an increased take-up of trade apprenticeships and occupations in the construction sector by women across NSW.”

Minister for Women Jodie Harrison said:

“We are committed to reducing gender segregation and attracting more women to male-dominated industries – and construction is one of them.

“The Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program is a key program to make sure we boost the number of women in the sector in a targeted way, by supporting their employment, upskilling and retention. Project officers embedded in NSW government projects will support this, as well as helping to improve the culture within industry to make it more inclusive.

“Lifting women’s participation in construction is not only the right thing to do for diversity in the industry but it plays an important role in addressing the current skills shortages.”

Lizzie Cox, Project Director at the Sydney Children’s Hospital Stage 1 and Minderoo Children’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre, John Holland said:

“With the help of the Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program, John Holland Group, has achieved the target for women in non-traditional roles – which is currently sitting at 8 per cent and is tracking well towards achieving the women in trades target.

“We are extremely proud that the project has also achieved the Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program targets for the workforce participation of Aboriginal People, people under 25 and for local community employment.”

  • Ministerial media releases
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