Inspiring Women in Construction and Trades

South Sydney High School

Schools Industry Partnership, Adrian Rhodes

In collaboration with Women in Design and Construction (WIDAC), Inspiring the Future Australia hosted a workshop at South Sydney High School, a co-educational High School situated a couple of kilometres from the iconic Maroubra beach in Sydney. 

Let’s not pretend, the feeling of apprehension was real. Take a moment to picture 56 female students from Year 10 entering the charming old school hall built in 1953. Our 6 female industry guests were already seated on the stage, ready for the panel segment. 

It was obvious from the students’ body language, that they were not going to be easily convinced that this was a unique career workshop that would change the way they think about their future. However, we were willing to take up the challenge. 

The students collective sigh of relief came as we progressed through the workshop. “Phew”, these are real industry women sharing their career journey. “Phew”, one of the panel members hated school and only just scraped through to finish Year 10. “Phew”, another moved from Dubbo to work as a labourer in the construction industry and pursue her sporting career with the Roosters in the WNRL. “Phew”, two of these ladies have moved from overseas to work in Australia. “Phew”, all of them seem to really enjoy their jobs. “Phew”, one of the ladies communicated that when you enjoy what you do you are motivated to learn. “Phew”, you don’t have to know what you want to do when you leave school. 

The realisation was felt by the students that all these women were real, raw, honest and trailblazers in male dominated industries. The sigh of relief from students was clearly obvious, shoulders were relaxed and the emotional barriers came down. 

Although there were a handful of students still reluctant, the overwhelming positivity filled the old school hall, a hall that thousands of students have passed through. 

The students walked out believing that the ‘world of work’ holds optimistic possibilities for each and everyone of us! 
Thank you to our association partners, Women in Design and Construction (WIDAC) for collaborating with us again and the wonderful Cyrilla for coming down from Brisbane. To the inspiring women who volunteered their time, you were wonderful and your involvement has most definitely broadened career horizons.

Taneka from National Rugby LeagueLouise AzzopardiMarta from StantecRachel Miu from John Holland and Hannah from Mott MacDonald and Vivienne from Sydney Olympic Park Authority

Thank you to South Sydney High School Executive team and the Career Adviser, Meredith Mattock for organising the workshop.