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 and mentoring to tradeswomen in Australia including apprentices and women seeking to work in the trades.
- Providing avenues for women to meet other tradeswomen, apprentices and others to 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,
The aims have been delivered with great success via a number of initiatives which are very action based and which are designed to be practical and engender social change in the way women view themselves and the way society views women.
Since we began, we have run hundreds of SALT Workshops with thousands of participants across six states of Australia; New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory and Victoria. The SALT Workshops teach women and girls in high schools, primary schools and communities how to use tools and our workshop is unique in the world for its reach.
In Primary schools we teach both girls and boys. We can set up in any area which is large enough and is undercover. These workshops have always been very low cost or 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.
Our workshops have been empowering for women from very diverse backgrounds including domestic violence, multicultural and indigenous communities.
As part of the workshop we have talked in hundreds of schools regarding making positive career choices and talked about many different pathways into which enable women to earn reasonable wages to support themselves and their families. These talks have been part of our unique mobile workshop.
We have worked with multiple organisations and Government departments such as Department of Education (Federal and States), Office for Women (Federal and State) plus major trade orientated companies and peak bodies such as South Australia Power Network, NECA, WestTrac CAT, BlueScope, Schindler, Essential Energy, Sydney Trains, Master Plumbers, Master Builders, Master Painters and Master Electricians regarding policies and initiatives to employ women in trades.
SALT represents many different trades 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 meetings in different areas. We use social media extensively with 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 by a small amount of paid staff and a passionate number of volunteers all of whom are committed to increasing diversity in our trades and bridging the gap to a gender accepting, skilled workforce in Australia.