Tools for change: Building stronger teams with diversity and positive workplace culture – writes EWIT CEO and Founding Director Hacia Atherton
I’m Hacia, the founder of Empowered Women in Trades (EWIT), and we’re on a mission to shake things up in the trades and create a space where everyone, regardless of gender, feels welcome and valued.
I’m here to chat about something close to my heart and crucial for the future of our industry: gender diversity in skilled trades. Right now, we’re sitting at a measly three per cent female representation in skilled trades, and in some trades like welding, it’s even lower at just one per cent. We can’t afford to ignore this disparity, especially now that our industry is grappling with a crippling skills shortage. Bringing more women into trades isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.
Now, I know what some of you might think: “Why fix what ain’t broken?” But here’s the thing: our industry is strong, no doubt about it, but it could be even stronger. How? Tapping into our workforce’s full potential means bringing more women into skilled trades.
Diversity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a game changer. It’s about bringing different perspectives, skills, and ideas to the table, making our industry more innovative, resilient, and opening up new opportunities. Embracing diversity in trades goes beyond just filling a quota; it’s about enriching our workplace culture and boosting productivity. A diverse team brings in a range of perspectives, fostering innovation and problem-solving, which all lead to improved financial results.
The little things
But the ripple effect doesn’t stop within the walls of the workplace; it extends out into the broader community. By breaking down gender barriers in trades, we’re setting a powerful example for future generations, showing that trade success is defined by skill, not gender. So, you might wonder, how can your trade business actively contribute to this cultural shift and champion diversity and inclusion?
It all begins with a commitment to challenge and transform any pre-existing biased attitudes within yourself and your team. Ask yourself if you are actively cultivating a workplace culture that values and respects diversity in all its forms. A great first step is to examine your recruitment practices closely. Are they truly fair and inclusive? Strive to eliminate any unconscious bias from your hiring process, ensuring that you select candidates based on their skills and potential rather than gender.
So, our goal at EWIT is crystal clear – we want women to make up 30 per cent of the skilled trades workforce by 2030. Ambitious? Absolutely and it will take a village to make this a reality. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work because the future of trades is in our hands, and it’s looking brighter than ever.