NAWIC holds first school Toolbox Breakfast at AITC Ipswich campus

More than 100 people attended the inaugural school-based Toolbox Breakfast hosted by the NAWIC last Friday. The event was held at the newly renovated Australian Industry Trade College – Ipswich campus. In attendance were vendor supporters from MEGT, Trade Tools, Apprenticeships Queensland, BUSSQ, TAFE Queensland and Hutchinson Builders. It provided a great networking opportunity for all attendees, with many young people making vital connections in the industry. 

The senior school Toolbox Breakfast is the brainchild of Rachael Price, volunteer committee member from NAWIC. Rachael believes having the breakfast on a smaller scale for high schools “will target females who wouldn’t be able to attend our traditional Toolbox Breakfast.” 

Rachael says the first school event at the AITC Ipswich campus – where young people complete their senior schooling and start a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship – has been exhilarating. “These young women are the future of our industry. Many tradesmen I have worked with, say females bring another level of detail and professionalism to the industry.” 

Cr Kate Kunzelmann from the City of Ipswich says she was “particularly struck” by the encouragement of women into trades during the breakfast. “I think that’s really important,” she says. “One of the young women said, ‘No-one could tell her what she couldn’t do.’ I think that’s a really good message.” 

After taking a tour of the newly renovated Ipswich campus Cr Kunzelmann described the college as a “lovely premises” and an asset to the community. “Ipswich is going through a huge growth curve; we’re going to need all these apprentices and industry professionals, including carpenters and plumbers, to cope with the growth that we’re going to have.” 

Radmila Desic, from the NAWIC Women on Tools Committee says, “it’s amazing to watch the AITC grow. I wish something like this had existed when I was at school.” She believes “having a dedicated school focusing on trades is a really important part of our society. We can’t all do the same thing—we can’t be all things. It’s great these opportunities exist.” 

AITC student, Hannah R. moved to the Ipswich campus to have more industry experience as well as focus on her education. Currently on work experience in the construction industry with a commercial cabinet maker, Hannah’s career interest in construction began at the age of five. “I’ve always enjoyed putting flatpacks together from Ikea when I was little — none of it has fallen apart yet! I’ve always shown an interest in it.” 

Hannah believes the Toolbox Breakfast “is very important for us because we need connections we can talk to; we need pathways we can go through. We need that support so we always know there is someone there if we’re struggling to find work experience, if we’re struggling to find an apprenticeship. It’s always good to have that support.” 

All AITC Year 11 young women pursuing a construction pathway are members of NAWIC, compliments of the industry-driven school.

Video highlights of the NAWIC breakfast at the Australian Industry Trade College — Ipswich campus.