‘If my son can do it, so can I’
17 Jul 2017
Applications for Women in Construction Scholarships are Now Open
For Larena McGregor, completing a painting apprenticeship has been a ticket to job security and independence.
The mother-of-two said retraining as a painter was one of the best decisions she’s ever made, giving her a reliable career and the option to work for herself if she chooses.
“I wanted a qualification behind me and it was physical activity where I could learn and work at the same time, which suited me.”
“You are responsible and in charge of your own work, and I really like that. It’s so much better than retail!”
Motivated by seeing her son succeed in his electrical apprenticeship, McGregor decided to enrol in a pre-trade course at Christchurch Polytechnic.
“I guess I thought if my son could do it, so could I.”
“My sons’ father died a few years ago, and I think he’d be pretty proud of us. Being a single parent you only want the best for your kids, and if you get a trade you’ll never go wrong.”
Larena is one of a growing number of women on site, where up to 60,000 new jobs are estimated to be needed over the next five years.
And while female employment in construction is growing at a faster rate than that of men, men on site still outnumber women by a ratio of almost six to one, according to a 2016 PwC report.
To help encourage women like McGregor, Site Safe, the industry’s not-for-profit health and safety organisation has launched a new scholarship specifically for women in construction and construction-related trades.
The new scholarship, which fully funds study towards the Certificate in Construction Site Safety, seeks to encourage more women to take up health and safety leadership roles on site.
Site Safe Chief Executive Alison Molloy said she hoped the scholarship would prove an incentive for women keen to step up on site.
“This scholarship is for the women who want to be the best that they can be and become leaders who inspire others to see the benefit of a safe, healthy workplace.”
“While the number of women in construction and related trades has increased over the years, women are still under-represented on site and we’d like to see that change,” Molloy said.
The scholarship is open to both members and non-members of Site Safe.
The initiative is one of a growing raft of moves by the industry to promote the trades as a career path for women.
For McGregor, defying expectations was all part of the challenge of completing her apprenticeship.
“You’ll get good people as well as people that’ll try to block you, but you have to just keep aiming for that ticket. Just keep striving and keep going.
“If you focus and want it badly enough, you’ll get there in the end.”
Scholarship applications close on September 1.