Supporting And Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) commenced in 2009 with a group of six tradeswomen in Wollongong. It became a non-profit association in early 2010 and now has groups of tradeswomen in Wollongong, Sydney and Canberra. Membership is not only women but includes tradesmen and other interested people.
SALT aims to encourage and promote the idea that the way forward is to integrate women into male dominated areas in order to support a skilled Australia.
Currently, 98.4% of tradespeople in Australian manual trades are male. Attrition rates amongst apprentices continue to range at 50-75% and 40% of qualified tradesmen also leave their trades on completion.
Australia needs tradespeople who are proficient, professional and who want to do the work. It needs workforces which are not driven by gender prejudices as according to SALT research, gender dominated workforces (both male and female) correspond to skill shortages.
SALT’s research indicates that non-traditional trade industries do not consider females as a potential workforce. On top of this women and girls do not consider the non-traditional trades as a career pathway unless they are exposed to them from a young age. It is going to take sustainable, consistent and achievable initiatives to initiate change.
SALT is working on a number of fronts to help start this quantum shift, such as:
SALT is introducing a new initiative to train Australian women of all ages to use hand tools. The concept is to use a highly visible ute and trailer with tools and SALT tradespeople to conduct mobile workshops, training, demonstrations, projects and displays. SALT believes that it is important to use a trailer, tools and equipment which are trade quality to carry out this project to gain respect and enrol the trade industries participation and engagement.
The SALT trailer initiative is proudly supported by Women NSW.
More information at www.saltaustralia.org.au