Empowered Women In Trades (EWIT) and Kapitol Group team members on one of Kapitol’s construction sites.
Construction firm Kapitol Group has partnered with Empowered Women In Trades (EWIT), a non-for-profit organisation empowering women with the knowledge and skills to join the Australian construction industry.
In partnering with EWIT, Kapitol seeks to increase the number of women joining the construction sector and bolster a new wave of females entering the industry.
Kapitol Founder and joint Managing Director, David Caputo said he is thrilled to work alongside EWIT to educate and support women about the opportunities within the construction industry.
“Kapitol is very excited about this partnership with EWIT. We see a strong alignment in our values of moving the industry forward and challenging the status quo to establish a better future for the industry,” Mr Caputo said.
“Construction and trades can be great jobs to work in, particularly in terms of flexibility and remuneration, but unfortunately that has not been the experience for many women, who remain in the minority.
“We need to address this disparity and increase female representation, not just to address headcount in this era of labour shortages, but to reap the benefits of having diverse perspectives on site and in the office.
“Partnering with EWIT is a step in the right direction whereby we can make an impact in fully supporting women to enter into this industry and most importantly – stay here and make it better.”
Research by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) shows a decline, down 6.3 per cent from 2020, in the number of women completing a trade. This creates a challenge for the sector in the face of the government’s new quotas requiring at least 40 per cent participation of women across projects by 2024.
To address this decline, and to stimulate a pipeline of future talent to the sector, Kapitol and EWIT aim to engage with multiple Victorian schools to educate females on the opportunities within the construction industry.
Further to educating female students, EWIT and Kapitol will take female workshop participants, aged often between 18 and 50, to Kapitol’s building sites and introduce them to the various roles that comprise a construction organisation, as well as host skills workshops and networking events.
EWIT was founded by Hacia Atherton, a CPA-qualified accountant, who fell in love with welding at the age of 29. Hacia’s lived experience set her on a mission to change old stereotypes and instead, empower women in skilled trades.
“When choosing vocational degrees, many females do not consider working a trade, I know I certainly hadn’t – and so part of our skills workshops is unpacking the unconscious bias that we’ve all inherited that might be holding women back,” said Ms Atherton.
“While there are many benefits for women for working in construction, having a female presence on site benefits men too.”
The partnership is a major milestone in Kapitol’s bid to effect positive change and establish a gender-diverse workforce throughout all facets of the wider construction industry.
Kapitol has recently been recognised for its workplace culture, named the WRK+ Best Place to Work in 2022, with over 40 per cent female current graduate intake and initiatives like cross-gender mentoring.
People and Culture Manager for Kapitol, Alice Hanna added, “One of our main goals is not only to support females entering the construction industry today, but to support and educate those that will join in 5 or 10 years’ time.”
“By partnering with EWIT, Kapitol is investing in the longevity of the industry. Research by McKinsey & Co highlights the benefits of having a diverse workforce, which can result in up to 25 per cent better team performance, and this is something we take very seriously at Kapitol.”