Victorian program offers women pathway into transport

Light vehicle initiative has potential to foster heavy industry opportunities

A Victorian program is seeking to address the automotive gender imbalance and wider industry skills shortage.

Women in Automotive (WinA) and the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce (VACC) launched a new state-funded program called Accelerating Women into Automotive (AWIA) in a joint effort to grow the number of women starting apprenticeships in the automotive industry.

With funding from Apprenticeships Victoria, AWIA forms part of the Victorian Government’s new Women in Apprenticeships fund, which support 615 women into apprenticeships and traineeships under a $5 million fund aimed at growing the state’s pool of skilled workers, and reversing a trend of women only accounting for 6.3% of major automotive qualifications.

While the scheme is looking at the automotive side of the skills shortage, as seen with Scania’s intiative to ‘convert’ light duty mechanics to heavy-duty transport sectors, there is ample scope for those with transferable skills to choose a mechanical career in heavier industries.

The five-week program will place successful applicants into an intensive introduction to the automotive industry through customised training and work placement at a registered training organisation, covering everything from mechanics, to engineering, sales and repairs.

The program is to use strategies aimed at breaking down barriers to attract and recruit women, such as designing integrated training to suit women, business education to help cultivate a supportive culture, employing facilitators who will work to attract new students and support them throughout the program, and employing workplace mentors to help transfer their skills and provide industry knowledge.

“We’re thrilled to announce the Accelerating Women into Automotive program,” VACC lead strategy and policy and WinA manager Imogen Reid said.

“WinA exists to attract, recruit and retain women across all levels and sectors of automotive, so we hope this will encourage more women to join and change the gender perception that has long been associated with the industry.

“At the completion of the program, we hope participants will feel excited to join the industry and undertake their full apprenticeship.

“By providing the right training and employment opportunities, we aim to increase the completion rates of female apprentices in automotive.”

“We know that organisations significantly benefit from improved gender diversity.

“We’re excited by the opportunity this program presents – effectively breaking down barriers to entry for both women, and businesses who would like to employ more women.”

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