March opened an amazing opportunity for the females within the Usher Group to help high school students interested in a career in construction with their decisions.
Having been the month of International Women’s Day this was an exciting opportunity for the Usher Group to spread awareness of the many opportunities and roles for women in the industry.
National Safety Manager, Amanda Pennycook, Client Relationship Manager, Kathy Thorpe and Marketing Coordinator Maddison Mangan visited Ipswich and Toowoomba TAFE campuses for the ‘Scaffolding the Future for Women in Construction’ with community organization Awesome Women in Construction (AWIC).
“I am a board member with AWIC so when we were planning for these events, I saw an opportunity to showcase the women within Usher and how diverse the roles within this industry are. My role with Usher is all about focusing on building relationships so what better way to do it than this” said Kathy.
At the events TAFE coordinators organised for students and their parents to have a look into what it would be like to study a career in construction and other apprenticeship-based industries.
During the event, students were able to meet with industry professionals to discuss what kind of opportunities and pathways they could take.
“It was important to have a diverse group of women for the students to talk to at the event. It was amazing to see the amount of enthusiasm from the students once they got chatting to these women and having their potential careers highlighted in interactive form” told Kathy.
Following the networking portion of the event, Maddison and Amanda were asked by AWIC founder Amanda Bulow to sit on a panel and discuss their experiences within the industry.
‘It was wonderful to have Maddison and Amanda join us for the Scaffolding the Future for Women in Construction events. Each of them bought a diverse career pathway to the event. It was great to show the young ladies in the audience that where you start your career isn’t where you will necessarily be in 5 years’ time. Having Maddison and Amanda share their stories was fantastic. Their passion for the industry was evident’ said Amanda Bulow.
Usher Groups own Amanda Pennycook was able to share her story on how she entered the construction industry as one of the very few female tradies in 1989.
“It was difficult when I started, for example there were no female amenities, no mentors and not a lot of respect for women. But today, it is very different. I myself have three different trades and am now the National Safety Manger for one of the leading painting companies in the country,” said Amanda, “More women will bring new ideas, diversity and different ways of looking at the challenges we face in this industry.”
In comparison to Amanda, Maddison entered the industry in a completely different way. From studying a Bachelor of Journalism at university and working in the media she now runs all the social media platforms for the Usher Group and assists with other marketing opportunities for the company.
“The way I got into the industry is certainly different to Amanda, but I believe I can showcase a different pathway into the industry for future females. My position is a perfect example that being a female in construction doesn’t limit you to just working on the tools, there are many opportunities and avenues you can take.” said Maddison.
The events were regarded a success by all with some students and parents, with some leaving with more confidence to pursue a career as a woman in construction. High School student Emily-Rose found the event inspiring and helped her focus more on following her dreams.
“I thought the night was well worth attending. We had a little hands-on experience which gave a bit of insight, then the panels of ladies sharing their experiences of working in the construction industry is what I enjoyed most. The stories gave me the inspiration to chase my dreams” Emily-Rose said.
“Even though I may be shy and a little scared I learned that it can definitely be overcome. I learned I need to get in and have a crack at what I’m interested in, I learned that the trade I do isn’t a life sentence but can lead me into lots of different fields, somewhere I didn’t even know was possible.”