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Boosting women's participation in the utilities sector

Urban Utilities Environment and Planning Officer Annabel Hofstee

The utilities sector has long been a male-dominated industry, but one new not-for-profit organisation has set out to even the keel, providing an online platform connecting high school girls and career officers with industry advisors.

Urban Utilities is a foundational sponsor of UNIQ You, with the service launched in Queensland to support young women interested in careers in sectors in which women are under-represented.

Urban Utilities CEO Louise Dudley said the utility is pleased to support the innovative program as it will help provide young women with wider career choices, and attract and retain talent

“The utilities sector has about 22% female participation overall, so there is still more opportunity to encourage a higher number of women into the industry,” she said.

“Through this program, we’ll be able to help teenage girls connect with women who are leaders in a range of fields such as engineering, science and technology.

“We’re also excited about the benefits the partnership will bring Urban Utilities, such as helping us to attract and retain talent, encourage new ideas and support innovation.”

Boosting participation

UNIQ You has a strong focus on increasing female participation in sectors such as utilities, mining, technology, digital, logistics and transport.

Environment and Planning Officer Annabel Hofstee (pictured above) is one of eight women from Urban Utilities who will advise and support students as part of the program, providing time and industry insights to grade 9 to 12 high school students from across the state.

“We’ve got a really diverse mix of women from environment and trade waste, to strategy and resource recovery, ready to offer support and advice to girls thinking of pursuing a career in the utility sector,” she said.

“From washing clothes, to quenching a thirst, to growing a garden, or enjoying a kayak along the creek — everyone is connected to water and I’m proud to come to work every day to make sure that our water and sewerage services are future-proof.

“This industry is always learning and adapting to the challenges of a changing world, so it is an exciting time to work in this space and I’m excited to inspire more young women to work in water.”