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Why mentoring is changing the construction industry

At APP we place a strong emphasis on retaining female employees through mentoring. Retaining women in a male-dominated industry must come from the top down. Role models who are leading projects, demonstrating their skills and expertise and empowering junior employees to continue with their careers in construction is the only way we are going to change the industry.
Why mentoring is changing the construction industry

As a Senior Project Manager, currently working on Newcastle’s $835 million John Hunter Health and Innovation Precinct project, alongside Senior Project Manager Jade Moss, Project Manager Angelina Janevski and Project Director Simone O’Connor, I take great joy in mentoring several female employees, some of whom have come through APP’s Graduate Program.

Women in construction shouldn’t be a unique concept. We know the industry has a long way to go, but progress is being made. I truly believe that the way to become more gender-diverse – which then brings fresh ideas and skills – is to foster the careers of junior team members. For me, this means guiding and including junior staff across projects as much as possible. Where I think this is particularly important is in meetings, industry events and especially on site, where there is the opportunity for team members to meet other stakeholders, network and build connections.

Encouragingly, the importance of recruiting women into the construction industry is becoming better understood. Companies across Australia recognise the imbalance in an industry that, according to The Workplace Gender Equality Agency, consists of only 18% female workers. Increased promotion of construction roles for graduates, flexible working, and generally changing mindsets to be gender diverse have resulted in more women considering careers in the industry both in the office and on site.

Attracting female workers is one step towards creating equality, however, retaining them is the next.

Supporting female employees to feel confident in an industry where they are outnumbered, comes down to creating a positive and supportive culture in the company they work in. This means nurturing an environment where there is mutual respect for the staff at all levels and opportunities are continually provided. Hands-on learning has been part of APP’s culture from its inception. It’s promoted through the annual Graduate Program and as a way of learning for staff across all divisions. 

Senior Project Manager Jade Moss and Project Manager Angelina Janevski are also based in APP’s Newcastle team and support mentorship through hands-on learning and inclusion in the office. 

As a business, APP is focused on bringing more women into the industry. Initiatives such as the APP Graduate Program and 500 Women in Property program are some of the ways we attract more female employees and champion women in their professional development. Being part of a business that shares our vision here in Newcastle to support female employees, makes what are doing achievable, and I’m optimistic about the changes the industry will see in the years ahead. 

Photo front row: Simone O’Connor , Amanda Lardner, Cate Gehrig, Jade Moss; Back Row Tessa Sharp, Angelina Janesvski, Tracey Amos, Jessie Web, Thea Cooper.

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