LEGO mentorship program paving new path for girls in construction

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
5 Min Read

A new LEGO mentorship program is laying the foundations for young girls to build towards a successful construction career brick by brick. 

Known for its ability to spark childhood creativity through assembling toy homes, structures and landscapes, the colourful building blocks have inspired young imaginations for nearly a century.

And now construction bosses hope the timeless toy could help build up female participation numbers as the sector searches for Australia’s lady tradies of tomorrow. 

Currently, just over 1 in 10 of those working in the construction industry in any capacity are women. Meanwhile, females comprise less than 3 per cent of the nation’s trade workforce.

The LEGO mentorship program, the Unstoppable Academy, aims to build up self-belief among young girls by knocking down barriers that inhibit their creative confidence and inspire them to seek a future career in construction. 

The initiative comes after the 2024 Play Well Study revealed that 3 out of 4 girls aged 5-12 feel the pressure of perfection and worry about judgement from others when expressing their creative ideas.

The program connects young girls with influential leaders within STEM industries, empowering them to shake up stereotypes, break free from limiting language and shape a future defined by innovation and imagination. 

10-year-old LEGO fan Queeness Gutierrez is one of the program’s inaugural participants and already dreams of a career in architectural engineering. 

“My dream is to build famous tourist attractions around the world so that people can have a mesmerising experience and memories to keep,” she told Build-it. 

“Construction is fun, and it is one of those cool jobs that pays attention to detail. I believe all women and every girl can take part in construction.” 

She will be mentored by Multiplex Design Manager Natalie Haydon, who will provide Queeness with some hands-on exposure to the construction industry, including learning about sustainable designs, architectural insights and even on-site tours. 

Queeness with her construction mentor Natalie at a Multiplex construction site.

Natalie told Build-it that the program would help to dismantle perceived gender barriers for primary-aged students when ideas about their potential were being formed.

“Unconscious biases begin early and shape how girls see themselves and their potential. In my mind, building girls’ creative confidence is an enabler of female empowerment, permitting them to set their sights on careers that they may not have considered before – like construction,” she told Build-it. 

“This is important to dismantle before entering high school, where electives are considered as early as Years 7 and 8. We are showing them what a career in construction is really like so that they can see it, believe it and be it.”

The construction industry’s inability to create a more appealing environment for females has long been pinned as one of the key reasons behind the nation’s exacerbating housing crisis, with a recent report by Master Builders Australia projecting the shortage of skilled workers will reduce industry output by $50 billion over the next half-decade. 

Boosting the number of women is one of the most pressing problems facing the construction industry today, with the sector needing to find an additional 229,000 skilled workers to help meet demand.  

Natalie took Queeness on a tour of a large construction project.

But Queeness says having a mentor has allowed her to get a sneak peek into the everyday ongoings of construction work, where she was already picking up some tricks of the trade and further cemented her desire to one day work in the sector. 

“Mrs Natalie is the best mentor ever as she helps me understand construction by explaining it to me using words I know,” she told Build-it.

“Something interesting that I learnt from her is that in construction, everyone on the team has a certain job and place to work.” 

For more information on the LEGO Unstoppable Academy, visit their website.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.