Program helps Ella build a passion for construction

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From left, Joanne Farrell, Ella Towers and Philippa Seldon. “Starting my career knowing there are people who believe in what I see for myself is the boost of confidence,” Ella says.

AT only 17, Ella Towers has been helping build the Joint Health Command Medical Centre at Duntroon, experiencing what life is like on a construction site.

She’s one of 22 young women participating in the “Women in Construction Pathways Program” – an initiative designed to provide industry experience for female students interested in a construction career.

Over the last 12 weeks the Hawker College student has spent one day a week on the construction site of the $40 million project, an experience she said has been an amazing opportunity.

“Being a part of the pathways program early on in my career has only set me up for success,” said Ella.

“Starting my career knowing there are people who believe in what I see for myself is the boost of confidence that many young girls and women who are new to this work force need to excel and expand their horizons.”

On site, Ella’s been involved in practical completion, checking faults, fit-offs and finalisation of trades under the guidance of student host company, Kane Construction.

“Ella has been fantastic,” says Kane Construction’s general manager Joanne Farrell.

“She is completely engaged, very inquisitive and has such a willingness to learn. It’s been great to have her involved at this stage of the development so she can see all the thousands of activities that are involved in getting a building ready for completion.”

In its first year, the program, which is a combined initiative between the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), the Australian Training Company (ATC) and the ACT government, aims to build an equitable construction industry, says NAWIC ACT co-president Peita De Boer.

“The first step of this journey is to normalise construction as a possible career path for young women, particularly high-school students,” Peita says. 

“The Women in Construction Pathways Program achieves this first step by creating the opportunity and support structure for young women to commence their journey into this amazing industry.”

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