Gender diversity key in our energy future

On International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we celebrate our diverse teams who are leading the way to support Australia’s energy transition while working to ensure the community has the power it needs now, and in the future.

The United Nations General Assembly declared 11 February the International Day of Women and Girls in Science in 2015. The day promotes full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, as well as gender equality across science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

However, the gender gap sadly persists. According to the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), women only make up around 10 percent of Australia’s electrical service workers. At the start of 2021, only 352 (3.5 percent) of 10,000 electrical apprentices in Victoria/Tasmania were female.

Our Group is committed to improving the gender balance across its operations. Since 2019 a series of initiatives have been implemented to encourage the recruitment and retention of female employees. In 2020, 20 percent of the Group’s workforce was female.
Amongst its field workforce, an important component of the Group’s approach to diversity and inclusion centres on Zinfra’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship Program. Sara Drew commenced with Zinfra as an apprentice electrician earlier this year, joining a group of electrical apprentices and trainees in Victoria working on Jemena’s electrical network.

"My role as an apprentice electrician is to perform maintenance at substations and terminal stations. As an apprentice, I work closely with mentors who teach me using very strict guidelines," she said.

Sara said she would occasionally bump in to Zinfra employees on the same work site in her previous roles working as a subcontractor in telecommunications on behalf of NBN and Foxtel.

"I've wanted to be an electrician for a long time, but six years ago when I was searching for an apprenticeship it was very difficult. Nowadays, there are plenty of opportunities out there for electrical apprenticeships.

"The Zinfra employees I had met when working in telecommunications all praised how great the company is and how well they were looked after as employees. The variety of career opportunities Zinfra holds in the electrical field was also really appealing to me when considering where to undertake my apprenticeship," she said.

Sara’s advice for women considering an electrical apprenticeship was to do their research.

"It’s definitely a career choice to look into. There’s many different fields that an electrician can work in, so research and find a field that suits both you as a person and your lifestyle.

"I've always been a hands on person and enjoy learning how things work, so I wouldn’t be suited to a job where I primarily sit at a desk. My favourite part of the job is learning a very unique trade that not many other electricians get to do, which also utilises both electrical and mechanical skills. The electrical trade is challenging and vast, so there’s always going to be secure work and plenty of opportunities to upskill and continually learn," she concluded.