Female enrolments on rise for traditional male trade courses

WOMEN are increasingly favouring hands-on training courses with enrolments surging almost 40 per cent in just three years.     

Fitter and turner Melinda Lethbridge is among the new breed of female tradies. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

The State Government will today launch a new push to encourage more women into such work.

Men still outnumber females almost 10 to one in traditional trades.

Education Department figures show government-subsidised enrolments in vocational education and training rose to 226,000 in the three years to 2013 — an increase of more than 64,000.

The government during a series of three events starting this morning will encourage industry leaders to further diversify their workforce.

Higher Education and Skills Minister Nick Wakeling, who will speak along with Women’s Affairs Minister Heidi Victoria, said more work was needed to support women wanting to pursue a trade.

“The skills of many traditional trades are in high demand, and increasing female participation within these areas, will continue to boost the employment opportunities of prospective students following the completion of their studies,’’ he said.

Health, fitness, hair and beauty remain the top choice for female school leavers wanting to be an apprentice or trainee.

Personal services and teacher education were most popular for those entering TAFE or VET.

Fitter and turner Melinda Lethbridge, bucking the male domination of traditional trades, said her career balanced her love of solving problems and hands-on work.

“The trade is fantastic for me and the way that I’m wired,’’ the 22-year-old said.

“I don’t think there should be anything stopping women getting into this.

“If you’re not afraid of occasionally breaking a nail and getting your hands dirty it’s really rewarding.”




1. Building and Construction

2. Electrical

3. Automotive

4. Hospitality

5. Gardening, Farming, Fishing


1. Health & Fitness, Hair and Beauty

2. Hospitality

3. Clerical

4. Teaching, Childcare, Library

5. Sales Assistants


Source: 2014 On Track survey — 2013 Year 12 completers


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