A new drive has been launched to attract more women into South Australia’s civil construction industry in order to embrace diversity and inclusion, as well as address and alleviate skills shortages that continue to impact the industry.
The move is part of a major focus by the Civil Contractors Federation South Australia (CCFSA), which has re-established the Women in Civil Committee.
The initiative has won immediate support with the appointment of a new volunteer group of women across the construction industry who are dedicated to highlighting the sector’s diversity of employment and career opportunities in a historically male dominated environment.
CCFSA chief executive, Phil Sutherland, says South Australia’s civil contractors play a prime role in working with both public and private sector clients in infrastructure delivery.
“Civil construction involves a variety of projects and activities (from small to very large) including the development and maintenance of civil or ‘horizontal’ infrastructure such as roads, bridges, sewer, water and drainage pipelines, dams, wharves, airstrips, commercial and housing land development – work environments offering opportunity for both male and female participants,” says Sutherland.
“Civil contractors are also involved in the preparatory works for mining and other resource developments.”
Newly appointed chairperson of the Women in Civil Committee, Carly Zanini, business relationship manager at Alexander Symonds, Surveying Consultants, says the number of women coming into civil construction is increasing.
“Women are already succeeding in the civil industry, with roles across the sector including trades, technical and professional roles, as well as supervisory and management positions. Some are CEOs and others own and operate their own civil sector companies, but there’s more work to be done with just 13 percent of the construction industry represented by women,” says Zanini.
“The Women in Civil Committee is designed to offer fresh support, training and networking opportunities to connect women in our industry.”
The Committee will also focus on ensuring there are frameworks and policies in SA’s varying civil construction workplaces that make it possible for women and men alike to access flexible working arrangements throughout their careers.
“We want to address unconscious bias around the civil industry. It is a great space for women to build long-lasting and highly successful careers. There is so much opportunity for diversity and inclusion, not just relating to gender,” adds Zanini.
“This year, an important focus of the Committee will be to ensure that the career opportunities the industry offers are well-known to high school students and school leavers. Female students shouldn’t shy away from a career in civil. The industry offers immense job satisfaction and is extraordinarily interesting and exciting.”
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