Women in Automotive (WinA) and the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce (VACC) announced the launch of a Victorian Government funded grant program, titled 'Accelerating women into automotive', in a joint effort to increase the number of women commencing apprenticeships in the automotive industry.

With funding from Apprenticeships Victoria, Accelerating Women into Automotive forms part of the State Government’s new Women in Apprenticeships fund, which will support 615 women into apprenticeships and traineeships, under a $5 million fund aimed at creating a pipeline of skilled workers to help build Victoria’s future.

The project is being led by WinA and VACC in order to create fulfilling career pathways for female apprentices and encourage women to take their first steps in embarking on a rewarding career in the industry, which has long been male-dominated. With females only accounting for 6.3% of the commencements in the major automotive qualifications, the program also seeks to increase the talent pool of women at a time of acute skill shortages impacting the automotive industry.

The five-week program will place successful applicants into a short and intensive introduction to the automotive industry through customised training and work placement at a registered training organisation, with training covering everything from mechanics, to engineering, sales and repairs. The program will utilise strategies that are aimed at breaking down barriers in order to attract and recruit women, such as designing integrated training to suit women, business education to help cultivate a supportive culture, employing facilitators who will work to attract new students and support them throughout the program, as well as employing workplace mentors to help transfer their skills and provide all-important industry knowledge.

Governed by a steering committee of industry leaders, WinA seeks to raise the profile and support women working in the automotive industry by providing resources, networking and scholarship opportunities. Having recently initiated an Automotive August membership drive to help build their community, WinA is firmly focused on the future and lifting female participation rates across all sectors of the industry.

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