Issue 3
Monday, 30 April 2018
Charles Darwin University
Erin Gargan and Olivia Woollett get with the program at Charles Darwin University
Erin Gargan and Olivia Woollett get with the program at Charles Darwin University

Women power through career program

By Leanne Miles

A new program is giving young women the power to take on a trade in the largely male-dominated fields of electrical and refrigeration. 

The Power Career Program is a partnership between Charles Darwin University, GTNT, and the Northern Territory Government, and aims to enable women to enter into a range of trades.

The first group of 14 women completing apprenticeships as part of the program are half way into the six-month intensive program, which includes training and job placements.

Former zookeeper turned electrical apprentice Olivia Woollett said she had been looking for an electrical apprenticeship when she saw the program.

“My dad is a ‘sparky’ so I became interested while helping him work on projects,” she said.

“I am really enjoying the program; the CDU lecturers have been great and my placements at Combine Electrical have really helped to put the theory into practice. They really believe in us.”

The 17-year-old said that training in the all-female group had not only been a great way to make friends, but also provided support in a largely male-dominated field.

“I think it is really important to get more girls into trades,” she said.

Electrotechnology team leader Brett Willowhite said the NT punched above its weight in terms of female apprentices, with current figures at 10 per cent as opposed to the national figure of three per cent.

“The program has been designed as a six-month intensive program rather than the usual year-long program aiming to get more women apprenticeship-ready,” Mr Willowhite said.

“It is a great initiative to get more women involved in trades.”