Rangiora-based electricity distribution company, MainPower New Zealand Limited hosted their first Girls with Hi-Vis day on Wednesday 6 July.
Girls with Hi-Vis is an initiative run by Connexis, aimed at increasing female participation in the infrastructure industry. Open days have been arranged throughout the country, with the aim of showcasing the opportunities for women in trades and technical roles.
MainPower’s event attracted participants from regional high schools as well as several young people considering career changes.
Participants were invited to MainPower’s head office in Rangiora where they learnt about the electricity distribution industry and the career opportunities available to them. The group were also taken on a site tour, heard from women working in the industry and were taught how to wire their own extension cords.
Ellie Pugh from Kaiapoi High School is considering a career in the electricity distribution industry when she leaves school; she said “It was great getting to try something for ourselves. We made our own extension cords and got them tested and certified as safe. I can’t wait to go home and show everyone what I did”.
Anders Johanssen, also from Kaiapoi High School, found the day very informative, “I didn’t realise how many opportunities there were out there, it really opened my eyes. The highlight for me was seeing the workshop and all the equipment.”
Less than 4% of Connexis’ trade and technical trainees are female. Speaking at the event, MainPower Chief Executive Bruce Emson said that there’s no reason for the numbers to be that low, “There’s plenty of space and opportunity for women in this industry, we just need to make sure the encouragement and information is there for them to make the leap”.
MainPower Human Resources Manager Sandra O’Donohue said the day was a success. “At the end of the day, all of the participants expressed an interest in pursuing training in the electricity distribution sector”.