Since Supporting And Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) started in 2009, it has become slightly easier for women to gain apprenticeships but we still have a long way to go until there are equal opportunities for women in the trades. SALT is a non-profit incorporated organization, which began to provide a support network for tradeswomen, apprentices and women who wish to enter the trades.
The aims of SALT are:
- Providing support to tradeswomen in Australia including apprentices and women seeking to work in the trades.
- Providing avenues for women to meet other tradeswomen, apprentices etc and share experiences.
- Promoting women in the trades to the general public and industry.
- Advocating for change to attitudes to women working in the trades.
- Campaigning for changes which enable women to train and work in the trades.
- Promoting diversity and acceptance for all people in the trades,
SALT has always encouraged men to join, as we believe the way forward is men and women working together where gender is not the issue.
We have always been very action based and have developed a number of initiatives which are designed to be very practical and engender social change in the way women view themselves and the way society views women.
Since we began we have run almost 100 SkillWomen Workshops across NSW, ACT and Victoria teaching women how to use tools with our mobile workshop. We can set up in any area which is large enough, has one source of power and is undercover. These workshops have always been free for participants and women from the ages of 96 right down to little girls of 2 years have enjoyed learning how to use tools.
We have given talks in about 60 schools regarding making positive career choices which will enable women to earn reasonable wages to support themselves and their families. We have partnered with multiple organisations and taken teams of tradeswomen and men who voluntarily worked to help farmers in drought areas. We have also worked with Government departments such as Department of Education, Women NSW and Office for Women, Victoria and major construction companies and peak bodies such as South Australia Power Network, NECA, Master Painters and Master Electricians regarding policies and initiatives to employ women in trades.
SALT has a great many number of different trades represented and we have always encouraged women and men to be involved. We believe this is the way forward to reach our goals of men and women working together, more acceptance of diversity in the trades and gender parity.
Currently we provide our membership with monthly meetings in Wollongong and Sydney (two meeting groups), Canberra, Albury, and Queensland. Newsletters are sent out twice a year. We use social media extensively with Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter posts almost every day. We also provide support and contacts plus information to women seeking work in the trades, such as resume reviews and advise on applying for jobs and apprenticeships.
Operations and leadership is run purely by volunteers who are passionate about our trades and bridging the gap to a gender accepting, skilled workforce in Australia.