Women targeted to ease skill shortage in infrastructure industry


New Zealand’s infrastructure industry is short of skilled staff, and women are being targeted to fill the jobs.

Women around the country recently donned hi-vis jackets to try their hand at jobs in the electricity supply, telecommunications, civil infrastructure and water industries, in a bid to attract more women into the workforce.

The annual Girls with Hi-Vis initiative sees staff inviting sisters, daughters, friends, cousins and wives to work for a day for a hands-on experience.

Helmut Modlik, chief executive of Connexis, the industry training organisation for the infrastructure industry, says the industry has a shortage of skilled workers, and women are a relatively untapped workforce.

“Traditionally, men are employed in these roles, but women are just as suited for the jobs, and also offer a different skill base, which introduces an added dimension to the workforce.

“Another key industry objective is to build a stronger network of women in the infrastructure industry which, in turn, nurtures inclusion, success and sustainability through mentoring and support. Girls with Hi-Vis month is one way of achieving this,” he says.

The highlight of Girls with Hi-Vis month is a Celebration of Women in Infrastructure lunch in Wellington on July 21. A selection of women who try out the industry for a day during Girls with Hi-Vis month will be invited to the event.

Industry partners are Vision Stream, Auckland; Contact Energy, Clyde; and Mainpower, Rangiora.

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