Women attending the roundtable at Parliament House.
The Independent MP for Goldstein Zoe Daniel chaired the Roundtable (Photo credit: NECA)

Last Tuesday Contact Group was proud to represent Tasmania at a Federal Roundtable in Canberra, focused on gender equality and respect at work for all.

The Roundtable at Parliament House was hosted by NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association), chaired by the Independent MP Zoe Daniel and attended by the Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic.

Other attendees included apprentices from both the electrical and plumbing industries, representatives from the Electrical Trades Union, business owners, and Dr Karin Mathison from the Tasmanian trade funding organisation, Keystone Tasmania.

Contact Group’s Marketing and Communications Manager Annah Fromberg said it was a fascinating discussion about the underrepresentation of women in non-traditional trades and STEM vocations.

“It was great to see MP’s trying to understand the barriers for women in our industry, and why there are still male dominated vocational training classrooms,” she said.

The Roundtable looked at the some of the challenges around recruitment and retainment, with the female apprentices giving interesting insights into their lived experiences.

The Federal Industry Minister Ed Husic attended the Roundtable (Photo credit: NECA)

“The discussion echoed some of the points made to us previously by Contact Group’s female apprentices, that the marketing of trades-based careers is usually targeted to young men and that girls are often discouraged from considering apprenticeships,” Ms Fromberg said.

Contact Group currently employs five female apprentices and 30 female staff in total, but Ms Fromberg said the business was keen to recruit more women.

“We’re hoping the Roundtable will lead to greater exposure of our industry and a better understanding of all the exciting opportunities in areas like Renewable Energy, AV, Communications and ICT,” she said.

Ms Fromberg said increasing female participation was important, not only to achieve a diverse and inclusive workplace, but to address the skills shortage facing the electrical industry.

“It’s little wonder we’re facing such resourcing issues, if half the available workforce doesn’t consider it an attractive or viable career option,” she said.

The key outcomes and recommendations of the Roundtable will be provided to government to inform immediate and future initiatives to achieve gender equality.