Female students try out the trades

EarnLearn (trades) is collaborating with Connexis, the infrastructure division of Te Pūkenga, to introduce young Kiwi women to careers in trades and infrastructure.

Read the media release from Connexis | Te Pūkenga below.

Press Release: Wellington, 1 June 2023

Female secondary school students throughout New Zealand are donning hi-vis vests and turning their hand to driving diggers and trucks, climbing power poles and checking out some of New Zealand’s largest energy generating assets while they suss out a career in the infrastructure industry.

The infrastructure industry keeps New Zealand moving – roads need replacing, leaky water pipes upgrading, power lines maintaining and faster broadband technology needs installing – and the skills required to deliver the future face of infrastructure continues to grow.

These skillsets are in high demand, particularly with the current challenges to help get the country back on track after the recent storms and flooding that has hit nationwide.

This month’s series of Girls with Hi-Vis® (GWHV) events aims to attract young women to the industry and will see close to 800 students from 80 schools – including 35 schools involved for the first time – experiencing what the infrastructure industry has to offer as a career.

Connexis | Te Pūkenga Executive Director Kaarin Gaukrodger says, “If we are to effectively address critical skills shortages within infrastructure industries, and meet the future needs of our communities, it is clear we must be more visible precisely where and when young people are making crucial career decisions.”

And that’s where Girls with Hi-Vis® comes in.  Over the coming month there will be more than 30 events hosted by different companies throughout New Zealand.

“That represents an impressive mobilisation within our industry to engage with women, who still make up only a small percentage of the infrastructure workforce, as a means of addressing skills shortages,” Kaarin says.

“At these events, students hear directly from inspirational women already working in the sector, and are given hands-on experience at skills needed in infrastructure jobs, such as working with specialised tools and operating heavy vehicles or machinery.

“But perhaps most importantly GWHV opens their minds to the possibility and helps them build relationships with key, often large, employers in their own local area.”

GWHV showcases the day to day roles of those tradespeople keeping our communities connected and provides an understanding of the career opportunities within their local community within infrastructure’s Civil, Energy, Telecommunications and Water industries.

For the first time this year some of the GWHV events incorporate the construction industry with BCITO | Te Pūkenga, the construction training provider and EarnLearn | Te Pūkenga who cover specialist trades such as scaffolding,  plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying, and electrical.  The employers within these industries are also looking to attract more trainees and see the GWHV events as a great opportunity to do this.

“There are many opportunities available. Women can begin their career in infrastructure ‘hands-on’ out in the field and progress from there, or if they have suitable skills and experience they can start at management level straight away or gain onsite experience while progressing through their university training.  The options and possibilities are endless,” Kaarin says.

The infrastructure industry is leading the way when it comes to employing women in what has traditionally been a male dominated sector, last year proudly reaching a target figure of 10% of women trainees in the industry. This has been a steady build  on 11 years ago when 3% of trainees were women.



For a full list of Girls with Hi-Vis® events, inspirational work stories and open day information visit  connexis.org.nz/girls-with-hi-vis

Other news