The first four delegates are now nearing their funding target and I have just been given an exciting last minute opportunity to join them on the trip this coming week. This really is a very last minute fundraiser, but I am confident that enough people believe in this cause to see it over the line.
Women Build Nations 2018 (Oct 12th -15th) is the world’s premier opportunity to learn and share best practices for recruiting and retaining women in the construction trades. Tradeswomens' networks in the U.S have been in operation for the last 30 years and they have been vital in recruiting women in non-traditional roles and continue to inspire women to pursue their passion for careers in the trades.
As a core member of Women In Trades Network Ireland (WITNI) it would be of huge value for me to attend the largest tradeswomens' conference in the world. We have many young aspiring apprentices and women new to the trades, contacting WITNI for advice and support. As a more experienced tradeswoman, I want to be able to offer them the best mentoring possible. Attending Women Build Nations 2018 will enrich my knowledge and know-how when helping tradeswomen in Ireland forge their careers, thereby also addressing the severe skills shortage in the Irish construction industry. I believe that attending will also benefit me personally by invigorating and inspiring me to strive for the most fulfilling and rewarding career possible. Please help me bring home to Ireland the valuable experience of our American sisters.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Ireland is experiencing rapid economic growth, but construction and transport industries can’t find enough skilled workers. Right now less than 1% of apprentices in crafts trades in Ireland are female, and that presents a great opportunity to mobilise a new workforce of tradeswomen to take up positions currently going unfilled.
WHO IS INVOLVED?
Women In Trades Network Ireland (WITNI) was established in 2016 to support and assist women with an interest in trades skills. Women are often discouraged from trades work because of societal expectations and/or jobs not being open to them, but we are working to change that.
WITNI HAS BEEN NAILING IT!
In the last year WITNI has:
· Mentored, connected, and supported women entering into trades careers and apprenticeships
· Created a nationwide network and increased the visibility of Irish tradeswomen through local tradeswomen role models
· Matched companies with job openings to women who are ready to work
Last year WITNI's successful crowdfunding campaign gave one of us the opportunity to attend the Women Build Nations Conference held in Chicago. Our founder, Jen Kelly, attended both as a participant and as a speaker on the Global Outreach Panel. It was the first time a worker from the Irish industry had participated. This annual event is the largest gathering of its kind, drawing 1600+ attendees from all over the world.
WHO ARE THE OTHER DELEGATES ATTENDING THIS YEAR?
The initial four delegates for this year have decided that it would be hugely beneficial for me to attend also, to balance out the level of experience in the group. I started my first apprenticeship 1996 when I was just 17 and went on to study furniture production and design. I have a varied experience as both a cabinetmaker and joiner, working in both domestic and on-site at events. I also have a lot of workshop experience working on my own products and projects. I am passionate about women having all avenues open to them when choosing their career and I also feel very strongly about the benefit to trades of having more women on the tools.
You can read my story on the WITNI website here http://www.witni.ie/sara-murphy-carpenter-maker/
WE WANT YOU TO BE A PART OF IT
· Are you invested in increasing the number of skilled trades workers?
· Do you support women working in non-traditional careers?
· Will you help women pursue jobs that interest them and will provide a good living?
Whether you are an industry leader or an individual, we want you to be a part of the movement towards a diverse and capable workforce in Ireland. We will be readily celebrating our sponsors in various ways on social media and the WITNI website during this campaign and highlighting your role in supporting an increase of tradeswomen in the Irish workforce.
This conference is a lot of work for one person to absorb, engage with, and document, and sending a strong team of women will help WITNI build a stronger network and broader resources for tradeswomen in Ireland.
MY FUNDRAISING TARGET
WHAT WILL THIS PAY FOR?
Flights, insurances, food, transport, conference tickets, materials, associated administrative costs plus crowdfunding fees for all four women. I am in the process of sourcing free accommodation and am contributing the first €750 of the goal myself.
HELP IRISH WOMEN BUILD CAREERS IN THE TRADES!
WITNI is an independent and self-funded initiative. You can find us here www.witni.ie and on Facebook and Twitter .
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