An innovative trainee program is giving Victorian high school girls a unique chance to kick-start a career in construction by working on Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) East from Cheltenham to Box Hill.
Delivered in partnership with Laing O’Rourke, Head Start and Holmesglen TAFE, the NextGen Construct program provides work experience to girls studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), offering valuable hands-on experience working on SRL East two days a week over two years, as well as opportunities for mentoring and future ongoing employment at the end of the program.
Each student is paired with a female industry mentor and their program hours contribute to a Certificate III in Business through Holmesglen. Four Year 11 students are participating this year.
Jade Gosbell, 16, from Melbourne Girls’ College, hopes to become a carpenter and has joined the Health and Safety team while completing a Certificate II in Building and Construction Carpentry.
‘Women aren’t usually taught about trades and it’s important to have a balance in any workplace – this program provides these opportunities,” she said.
Bijana Tarrosa, 18, from Cranbourne Secondary College, wants to be an engineer and has been working in the Sustainability team to learn about environmental considerations.
“I enjoy learning and discovering how things are built, what materials to use and how all the different elements come together,” she said.
Maria Mansour, 16, from Fountain Gate Secondary Collage, joined the Health and Safety team and has her sights set on attending university.
“I hope to work for Laing O’Rourke or with a similar company in the future,” she said.
Sarina Yim, 16, from Lyndale Secondary College, joined the People and Social Outcomes team for her first rotation.
“I believe being part of a major project will teach me valuable skills and support my personal growth,” she said.
The students rotate through eight industry areas within Laing O’Rourke – SRL East’s managing contractor for initial and early works – from engineering to human resources and will be offered a job at the end of the program.
Early construction of SRL East is well underway – creating hundreds of early direct jobs – with more than 14 per cent of hours being worked by apprentices, trainees and cadets.
With trains running by 2035, SRL East will deliver a turn-up-and-go service, connecting more Victorians to universities, TAFE, jobs and services.
The areas around SRL stations will attract diverse housing, providing future generations – like Jade, Sarina, Maria and Bijana – more opportunities to live close to work and family.