Introducing new Mentors for BUSY Sisters

Supporting women to enter non-traditional (or male-dominated) career paths is important for Australia, not just from an important diversity perspective but because right now, many industries are desperately seeking skilled workers, particularly in the trades sector.

BUSY Sisters is an Australian government funded program that aims to support women who are newly entering a male-dominated trade to complete their apprenticeship or traineeship and carve a successful career path. The 26-week program offers resources and one-on-one mentoring support for women who are increasingly rejecting the traditional female roles to undertake a career path in mechanics, engineering, construction, I.T and many other male-dominated industry sectors.

Recently, two new BUSY Sisters mentors commenced with the program, both bringing their unique experiences, skills and passion to support women who are entering male-dominated sectors.

New mentor Caroline knows all too well the challenges of entering a male dominated trade. For eleven years Caroline worked in Painting and Decorating, eventually going on to train other apprentices and become an industry advocate. Combine that with her later career as a student liaison officer at various Australian universities and also becoming a qualified counsellor who worked with Relationships Australia, the role as BUSY Sisters mentor could not fit more perfectly!

Caroline had this to say about her new mentoring role with BUSY Sisters, “My experience in trades and my counselling degree attracted me to the mentor role and I am looking forward to supporting women to succeed in their new career pathways.

“I believe the term ‘traditional’ is no longer applicable because there is absolutely no reason why women shouldn’t be offered those opportunities. The reason they may not have in the past was because it was seen as a ‘male role’ but there’s no reason for that anymore. Even heaving lifting is taken care of with technology and there’s only so much an individual can lift anyway, male or female.

“There are very few roles women can’t participate and succeed in, and there’s plenty of male dominated roles that women have a particular aptitude for. Painting is one example as employers find women have great attention to detail and because it’s a finishing trade, they really excel at it.”

Her advice to women considering or just entering a male-dominated role, “You shouldn’t feel apprehensive or intimidated by being there, so be confident! Understand that workplaces are changing. I think both employers and co-workers are starting to see that strong women are an asset for their company”.

New fellow Mentor with the program, Billie-Jo, who worked as a qualified chef for ten years and in her earlier career days nearly completed an apprenticeship in mechanics, agrees! “I think it’s important for women to work in non-traditional roles as it adds diversity and women bring a lot to the workplace.”

When asked what attracted her to the role of Mentor with BUSY Sisters, Billie-Jo said, “I can see the value in the job role. As soon as I saw it advertised I remembered things that happened in my own apprenticeship and I can definitely see the value in having someone to talk to. I think someone who understands where you’re coming from, that’s awesome. If I had of had that when I was younger and doing my mechanics apprenticeship, I probably would have gone further in that career path.

“Self-confidence and confidence in their place in the workplace, knowing there is someone to support them and that they should be there.  Access to programs and resources and our experiences if there’s an issue, that’s important to have. Someone to check in who understands what they’re going through.

“Our goal is to improve women’s chances of finishing their apprenticeship (or traineeship). Helping women feel confident, knowing they belong there in that workplace and have a right to succeed”.

Are you newly entering a male-dominated trade? BUSY Sisters can support your career start too! The no cost program offers you access to exclusive resources, a community of like-minded women and one-on-one mentoring support when needed.

Billie-Jo (L) and Caroline (R) – new Mentors with the BUSY Sisters team

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