An extraordinary 595 students from 26 schools across five states and territories joined the Property Council’s Girls in Property program this year. What did we all learn?
Girls in Property was established to encourage high school students to consider the diverse career paths available in the property industry.
And this year’s program did not disappoint.
In New South Wales – where Girls in Property began in 2017 – 320 students from 13 schools in Sydney, the Illawarra and the Hunter took part in a six-week program.
The girls heard from inspiring speakers, took site tours, learned from hands-on project work and worked closely with industry mentors. An impressive 81 per cent of the program participants said their career horizons expanded as a result.
On the West Coast, around 60 teenage girls spent a day at Curtin University, interacting with senior leaders, taking part in brainstorming workshops and touring the Construction Futures Centre and Forrest Chase redevelopment.
In Victoria, 85 students from five schools joined a full-day program, which included a panel of rising stars, a master-planning activity supported by Development Victoria and a site tour of Lendlease and Arup’s headquarters at Melbourne Quarter.
Up in Queensland, 50 girls took part in a day-long workshop at Sekisui House’s West Village, gaining insights into everything from virtual reality and architecture, to planning a retail marketing campaign and overseeing a construction site.
And 80 girls from four schools in the nation’s capital headed to the University of Canberra to learn how projects are delivered from concept to construction.
Many of the participants said the program opened their eyes to the opportunities ahead.
“My view of the property industry has changed drastically,” said one girl. “I was unaware of many positions in the industry that I could potentially see myself doing in the future.”
“I didn't realise how many jobs there were in the property industry,” said another participant. “I think quite a number of these jobs would be very interesting and also important to the community… I now know that the property industry is not just real estate agents and trades.”
School leaders were just as impressed. Principal of The Gap State High School, Anne McLauchlan, says her students were “pleasantly surprised” by the number of career opportunities available to them through the property industry, and without Girls in Property “they would still be none the wiser”.
A Melbourne teacher who participated last week applauded “the most engaging sessions that I’ve ever attended in my career”.
“It was so well organised and I was so impressed with the quality and dedication of the experts who gave up their time to speak. The venue was also quite incredible and gave me an insight into the structure of workplaces and office spaces for the future.”
A growing number of Property Council members offered their time and talents to support Girls in Property.
Finola Reid, Arup’s office leader in Victoria and South Australia, says the program “aligns with Arup’s commitment to gender equity in the workplace, supporting women in developing pathways and fulfilling careers in engineering and design”.
Construction Skills Queensland chief executive officer, Brett Schimming, says Girls in Property demonstrates that “the construction industry is not just for the boys”, and can “help with some of the decision-making in the final years of high school.
Kylie Rampa, Lendlease’s chief executive officer for property, says the property industry “delivers a full spectrum from a career perspective”, and “thought-provoking initiatives like Girls in Property help to inspire the minds of our country’s next generation of talent”.
The Property Council is already working on Girls in Property 2020 to build on the success of the past three years.