Lady tradies look to nail $10k of prizes in new apprenticeship awards

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
5 Min Read

Australia’s lady tradies are looking to get lucky by winning $10,000 of tools and prizes as part of a new competition celebrating Australia’s most passionate female apprentices.

Let’s face it: Choosing a career as a tradeswoman in 2024 can be both challenging and lonely.

With just 13 per cent of apprentices female, even fewer make it through to a full-time career as a fully qualified tradie.

Gender-based stereotypes, sexual harassment and employer prejudice are all factors towards the construction industry’s low female retention rates, with women currently accounting for just 1-in-50 tradies.

But in a bid to transform the tradeswomen trends, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) have teamed up with home retailer Bunnings and other top tradie brands to help give a group of eager girls a headstart in the industry.

Their Women in Apprenticeships Awards will select ten lucky lady tradies to walk home with a prize pack of tools from brands such as Hard Yakka, AEG, Kincrome, Irwin, Full Boar, Johnson, NWS and Vaughan.

The winner will also receive more than $5000 of Bunnings gift cards, as well as mentorship and ongoing support from industry leaders within the NAWIC.

The popular awards, in their second year, are launched to coincide with the conclusion of Women in Construction Week (3-9 March) to keep the momentum going of celebrating Australia’s lady tradies.

Lara won last year’s Women in Apprenticeships Awards, scoring nearly $10k in prizes. 

Lara Smyth from Victoria was one of last year’s lucky winners, selected ahead of nearly 2,000 other entries for her passion and quality craftsmanship.

Now in her second year as an apprentice, Lara told Build-it the award has helped kickstart her tradie career as she hopes to emulate her role model mum, who owns Hey Sista Plumbing.

“Winning one of the Women in Apprenticeships Awards last year opened so many doors and opportunities for me, helping me to buy all my power tools for my first year as an apprentice, which is amazing,” she said.

Bunnings Head of Trade Solutions, Penny Gray, told Build-it she hoped the Award’s prize pack would help lady tradies like Lara tackle some of the challenges females face in the industry.

“We know that women face a number of barriers when pursuing a trade profession, and we are proud to play a small role in helping to empower women during the early stages of their trade career with the second year of our Women in Apprenticeships Awards,” she said.

“The initiative aims to provide meaningful and practical support to women in apprenticeships, and it’s great to have NAWIC on board again to provide ongoing mentorship and professional advice for winners.”

NAWIC General Manager Lauren Fahey says the extra support would help counter the low completion numbers for female apprenticeships by aiding in much-needed industry retention rates.

“Supporting women in construction is a significant way we can improve female economic security, overcome the skills and labour crisis, and deliver greater profitability and innovation to the construction industry,” she told Build-it.

“We know that completion rates for female apprenticeships are low. Bunnings continuing their support of female apprenticeships is important in shifting the dial for women in construction.”

Apprentice prizes:

  • $5,000 in Bunnings Gift Cards
  • NAWIC Mentorship
  • $1,500 Hard Yakka gift voucher
  • $1,000 AEG Kit
  • $1,000 Kincrome product pack
  • $1,000 Irwin product pack,
  • $500 Full Boar product pack
  • $230 Johnson product pack
  • $175 NWS product pack
  • $100 Vaughan product pack

Employer prizes:

  • $1,000 in Bunnings Gift Cards
  • $500 Hard Yakka product pack

Applications for the awards open from March 8 – April 5. Applicants must complete an apprenticeship or be qualified within the last year.

Entrants are asked to tell the judging panel why they are passionate about their trade or how the award would help them.
For more information or to nominate a lady tradie, visit the Women in Apprenticeships Award website.

Share This Article
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.