Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Giving women a start in manufacturing

Yesterday I attended an event that was positive on many levels. It was an event recognising the participants in a program called "Women Who Weld". A Brisbane manufacturer, Atlas Heavy Engineering has taken on the first participants in a program which encourages young women, of varying ages, to learn to weld. Once they've completed the program it counts towards a Certificate I in Engineering (Welding).

The first Women Who Weld participants as well as:
Local Member Lisa France MP (far left), Rex Vegt (second from left) and
Assistant Minister for Technical and Further Education Saxon Rice (far right).

Atlas General Manager Rex Vegt said the program has many aims but the primary one is to give these young women a 'start'. A start in a profession that will give them many skills, that they may not have otherwise had, to further their career in welding or another associated trade.

What a great sentiment! Isn't that what we all want(ed)? - a chance, a start to a career that offers opportunities, rewards and challenges. While the Women Who Weld program is obviously targeting women, it has a broader purpose of recruiting from:
  • a wider age group - the first intake ranged from 16 to mid-30s
  • varying backgrounds - four indigenous participants took part in the first intake
  • those that are out of work 
All have the opportunity to get a start - and get a start in an industry that can take them to a range of sectors and career pathways into other industries.

Assistant Minister Saxon Rice is taught to weld
by Women Who Weld student Zoe Girgenti.

The program is to be extended with the second intake underway and with further plans to expand it across other areas of Brisbane.

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