Issue 2
Monday, 26 March 2018
Charles Darwin University
E-news
VET lecturer Sarah Brunton has be recognised for her tireless work in mentoring and supporting women in trades
VET lecturer Sarah Brunton has be recognised for her tireless work in mentoring and supporting women in trades

Tradeswoman awarded for dedication

By Leanne Miles

A tradeswoman and VET lecturer has been awarded for her tireless work in mentoring and supporting women in trades.

Electrotechnology lecturer Sarah Brunton was commended along with six other women at the recent Tradeswomen Australia Conference in recognition of her dedication and contribution to non-traditional trades.

Ms Brunton who is a founding member of Facebook group the Darwin Sparkettes and SALT (supporting and linking tradeswomen) said she was really proud to receive the award.

“Three of us from the NT attended and ran a breakout session on electrical,” she said. “We represented as a team and also spoke about our support and mentoring group the Darwin Sparkettes, which is a group of female sparkies in and around Darwin who would like to encourage more people to consider getting a trade.”

With almost 20 years as a qualified Electrical Fitter/Mechanic in the construction industry, Ms Brunton knows all too well the challenges faced by women in the industry.

“Growing up in Darwin there were not many opportunities for me to get an apprenticeship when I finished school,” she said. “Things are different now and I think it is important to have more women represented in trades in the NT and Australia because jobs don’t have a gender.”

Ms Brunton said she helped set up the support groups to help young people see that a trade was a viable career option that could lead to other opportunities.

“I decided to take on a trade because through high school I liked the technology subjects, including mechanics, welding and panel beating during years 11 and 12,” she said.

“Now teaching at CDU, I am able to provide advice to newcomers in the industry from personal experiences, sharing stories and encouraging each other if someone has a problem at work.”

She said talking to high school students was also really important so they understood that trades were for everyone.

“Women make up less than two per cent of Electricians Australia-wide,” she said. “It was important to set up and participate in both mentor groups because in the past I have seen lots of women drop out of apprenticeships because they don’t have anyone at work they can relate to and that can feel intimidating.”

For more information visit W: saltaustralia.org.au or facebook.com/DarwinSparkettes