NATION

Push To Raise Number Of Women Construction Workers

In recent years there has been a nationwide push to increase the number of female construction workers in Fiji. Habitat for Humanity Fiji, Asian Development Bank, Australian Pacific Technical College
20 Dec 2018 10:00
Push To Raise Number Of Women Construction Workers
APTC chief executive officer Soli Middleby (middle) with ADB Green Jobs for Women project graduates. Photo: Habitat for Humanity Fiji

In recent years there has been a nationwide push to increase the number of female construction workers in Fiji.

Habitat for Humanity Fiji, Asian Development Bank, Australian Pacific Technical College and Ministry of Women are trying to help change that.

The ADB “Green Jobs for Women” programme was an 18-week training course which prepared women to work in the construction field.

It has started as a pilot project this year supported by the Asian Development Bank.

The handover at Kalabu Village last week marked the presentation of “Build Back Safer” (BBS) certificates and a bag of tools each by Vinod Patel Foundation to the 19 of the 20 women upon completion of the inaugural ADB funded Australia-Pacific Technical College Certificate II in Carpentry that started early August this year.

The 20 women from diverse backgrounds, including wives and single mothers, built 20 Category 5 homes for Kalabu Village, Sakoca, Veikoba, Tamavua and Naivikinikini in Lami.

Chief guest Permanent Secretary for Women and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Josefa Koroivueta described the event as an opportunity Fiji and its women have never encountered before and a step forward.

“It brings joy to families in need of shelter, roof and security. At the same time, it serves as a tool for these graduating women to build their livelihoods, build their resiliency and be empowered. It’s good for the economy, and it’s good for families, it’s good for individuals and it can be a career, it can be a good income, a good wage, it just gets everything going,” Dr Koroivueta said.

APTC chief executive officer Soli Middleby said the initiative aligned with the organisation’s commitment to gender equality and equity.

“We want to do our part to ensure our work is driven through human rights lenses that demonstrate social inclusion. When this opportunity to partner with Habitat for Humanity emerged, we couldn’t help but be enthusiastic, and jumped in to support these amazing women in getting Australian qualifications in this non-traditional – and yet universally vital – field,” she said.

ADB’s Beatrice Olsson talked about the same sentiments adding on to it that these women are making huge strides in their individual lives while at the same time forging a path for other women who may be thinking about laying the foundation for a new career.

Habitat for Humanity Fiji Director Masimeke Latianara said the initiative for Build Back Safer (BBS) was borne post Tropical Cyclone Winston when the construction industry experienced a shortage of skilled carpenters who had left to take up overseas job offers.

“There was a shortage of skilled carpenters to rebuild and renovate damaged homes,” he said.

 



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