Thirty-four students took the opportunity to explore wide aspects of Fulton Hogan’s operations – from surfacing to safety management to signs and graphics. The open day is part of Girls with Hi-Vis® (GWHV) month, an annual initiative by Connexis – the Infrastructure Training Organisation – to encourage more women to join the Infrastructure Industry.
The afternoon session was particularly popular. The students were fitted out with hi-vis gear for a trip to the Canterbury, Miners Rd Training Ground where they learnt about operating excavators, dump trucks, graders, landscaping equipment and other machines.
Sarah Bramhall from Ashburton College says, “I’m loving it; it’s different and amazing. I’m doing a joinery course at the moment but you don’t get to see how everything in this industry fits together.”
Training Manager Andrea Wilson, who organised the open day, added, “We wanted to open their eyes to the possibilities and help them understand that their career pathway will be supported with training, that they can earn while they learn with Fulton Hogan and the opportunities for advancement are not limited.
“And there is now a NZ Cadetship Programme designed specifically for bringing in the next generation of Fulton Hogan employees, where they will be supported by mentors and are rotated every three months over the two year programme to various departments to learn all about each area before settling on their permanent role with the company.”
Connexis Chief Executive Peter Benfell says GWHV is a unique opportunity for women to find out about job options they had never previously considered or didn’t realise were available.
“Girls with Hi-Vis® offers women of all ages and backgrounds, and from all over the country, a hands-on taste of a work day with our major infrastructure companies. They can also hear from other women already working the industry, and maybe see where they might have a future.”
Peter adds that attracting more women to infrastructure careers is vital for the future of the sector, to ensure that it continues to grow and operate at world standard level.
Females only account for about 4% of employees in the Infrastructure Industries in general – an incredibly low figure given females make up 50% of the population, meaning that females are well under represented in the industry.
GWHV is held throughout the month of June and the nationwide programme sees companies in the Civil, Energy, Telecommunication and 3Water industries open their doors for a day, specifically to women interested in knowing more about what they do and the career opportunities available.
Upcoming events include Meridian Energy in Twizel on today as well as another in Wellington on June 25 specifically for school students. In the water sector, GWHV events include one hosted by Watercare in Mangere on Wednesday this week.