Record female apprenticeships for Ergon in 2016

Published: 8 Mar 2016 10:39am

Ros Baker 

“Ergon Energy’s ongoing commitment to increasing female participation in the electricity industry through a unique introductory training program, and a keen focus on diversity during recruitment, is showing great results,” said Ergon Energy Acting Chief Executive Ros Baker - pictured.

“As we celebrate International Women’s Day at Ergon, I’m proud to say our 17-strong female apprentice intake in 2016 was the highest the company has attracted to date and eclipsed the previous intake by six,” Ms Baker said.

“And furthermore, our innovative program ‘Introduction to the Electricity Supply Industry’, which we developed to encourage more female participation in trades and the industry, had a fantastic response.”

Ms Baker said Ergon’s recruitment approach in recent years had focussed on diversity.

“It’s pleasing to see female participation in what is a traditionally male-dominated industry increasing.

“Fourteen per cent of our total apprentices are female, which means 36 female apprentices are now working for qualifications as Distribution Linespersons, Electro-technology Electricians, and Communications/Electronics specialists,” she said.

“Building on our success, the same diversity recruitment goals we set during the 2016 recruitment campaign will be applied for the next apprentice intake and we’re hopeful of having between 20 and 25 per cent of successful females starting in 2017.”

Ms Baker, who was a Queensland finalist in last year’s Telstra Businesswomen’s Awards said she understood how important it was for women to have opportunities in trades where male participation has traditionally been the norm.

“We encourage the best and brightest young women to seek a career at of Ergon Energy,” Ms Baker said.

“Producing a diverse, highly skilled workforce is vital to the ongoing growth of regional Queensland and Ergon Energy is proud to promote this through its apprenticeship program.”

The successful 17 female apprentices of 2016 were among 85 apprentices selected from around 2200 applicants and are now undertaking induction training in Cairns, Mackay, Maryborough, Brisbane, Townsville, Rockhampton and Toowoomba.

Once this has been completed, the female apprentices will return to their home depots in 11 locations, from Cairns to Toowoomba.

Participation in Ergon’s innovative ‘Introduction to the Electricity Supply Industry’ program was by invitation and extended to previous female applicants who did not manage to secure an apprenticeship through Ergon’s 2015 intake.

“The program is intended to ‘level the playing field’ by providing insight into Ergon and the electricity sector, as well as accredited training which is transferrable to other trade and construction sectors,”  Ms Baker said.

“In all, 32 female candidates, who just missed out selection because they hadn’t had the same opportunities for exposure to trade and related skills as many of the male applicants, attended the three-week program we ran in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Maryborough and Toowoomba.

“One early success has been a participant who began an Electro-technology Electrician apprenticeship in Maryborough as part of this year’s intake.”

Locations of the female apprentices by operating area and location where they will be based following induction training (from north to south) all apprentices will be in their depots by 26/4/2016.

Tropical North (1): Cairns

Herbert (4): Charters Towers, Proserpine, Townsville (x2)

Pioneer (4): Mackay

Fitzroy (4): Rockhampton, Gladstone, Springsure, Yeppoon

Fraser Burnett (2): Maryborough

Greater Downs (2): Toowoomba

Media Contact: Email or phone (07) 38516326

A message from Ergon Energy Chief Executive Ros Baker

Show transcript

I was really pleased to see that this year we had our strongest intake of female apprentices. 

Diversity is certainly important and it's certainly important to bring women through into non-traditional trades. 

My advice is just to have a go, believe in yourself. 

And, to our male mentors and our male champions of change, keep encouraging women and bringing them through. 

I think that diversity is something that makes our workplace great.

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