St Catherine’s Girls To Be Architects Of Their Own Careers

‘‘We want to inspire our young women to be strong future leaders. It’s really exciting, the girls are loving it.’’
Mrs Gina Peele

Early exposure to a breadth of career pathways can be critical in helping girls explore their full potential. That’s the idea behind the new ‘Young Women in Industry’ program at St Catherine’s School, which gives students a broad understanding of industries including property, finance, law and technology with hands-on opportunities to network with industry partners.

The year 9 elective launched this year, and is designed to open the minds of St Catherine’s students to
opportunities in the property industry and ensure that bold, smart women are helping to shape the future of this field.

“What we’re trying to provide is scope and exposure to an industry, which will then allow our students to be able to make confident career decisions,” says Gina Peele, Director of Student Programs.

“And I’m not talking about real estate. I’m talking about everything that fits within the property industry,
so architecture, engineering, marketing…all the elements that go into property design.”

With the theoretical content taught at school, the more practical component is delivered in three modules in partnership with property group Dexus.

The girls’ first visit to Dexus will take them through the company’s portfolio, and include a panel discussion with people from all areas of the business. In the second module, students learn about
innovation in property and smart building technologies. They also work on a case study and walk through a construction site to see how builders and architects work alongside each other.

“Because there’s a financial element to the course that we’re delivering at school, there’s a cost-benefit analysis that will occur after that visit,” Peele adds.

The final module looks at sustainable cities of the future and, specifically, the city of Melbourne’s urban planning. “We want to inspire our young women to be strong future leaders,” she says. “It’s really exciting, the girls are loving it.”

The pilot subject brings together content from St Catherine’s previous teachings on enterprise, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. By hearing from female leaders and mentors in the field, girls
will have a greater understanding of the subjects and degrees that will support their transition into property in the future, plus opportunities to gain some early industry network connections along the way.

It also forms an integral part of the students’ leadership diploma, which aims to develop their understanding of their personal capabilities and contribution to the wider community.

“What this subject provides is that opportunity to make a better-informed decision about where they want to go and what they want to do,” Peele says.

“We know that there are a lot of factors that go into getting into university, and many years before they get into the workforce.

“This experience will give them the confidence to pursue a career in architecture, engineering or
marketing,” she says. “They’re going to be more informed and actually take a greater interest in what they’re walking into.”

Peele says the best way to instigate change and see more female representation in this male-dominated
industry is by providing real-life exposure to the workplace through university and industry partnerships.

“I think that’s the way of the future… Anything where we can upskill our students prior to their immersion in university and the workplace is going to better prepare them.”

The Age, Monday 8 March

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