Vocational Education and Training (VET) is a highly valuable system developing the skills needed for a modern economy. It is often associated with construction, electricians, printers, metal engineers, chefs, hairdressers and other sectors reliant on trade qualifications. However, in reality, VET permeates the whole of society, developing and enhancing skills in occupations ranging from pilots to musicians; office workers to travel and real estate agents; and safety inspectors to enrolled nurses to name but a few.
Attracting women to STEM study and work and retaining them in related careers is a challenge for many disciplines and occupations. Barriers are multi-faceted and range across a number of areas and therefore solutions need to be diverse as well. Over the years, a number of Departments have sought to address this issue and have launched initiatives. Going forward, there needs to be a coherent whole of Government approach to address the range of issues in STEM education generally, and specifically for encouraging and retaining women in STEM.