BuildUP report now available

Find out what women building and construction apprentices told us.

Tuesday, 5 March 2024 at 12:45 am

In September 2023, the VRQA launched BuildUP. A regulatory campaign focused on women building and construction apprentices and trainees.

We opened a hotline and reached out to all women apprentices and trainees in civil construction in Victoria. Our Authorised Officers spoke to 60 of them about their experiences, visiting them in the workplace or conducting phone interviews. 

Campaign findings

The good news is that we found high levels of employer compliance. 

The bad news is that we found a culture of silence when women apprentices and trainees are mistreated by employers. 

Every apprentice and trainee that reported negative experiences did not want the VRQA to act, due to fear of workplace reprisal or concern of being labelled a ‘troublemaker’ in the industry. 

For the same reasons, callers to the BuildUP hotline who reported serious employer non-compliance chose to remain anonymous. 

Campaign report 

A full report on what women civil construction apprentices and trainees told us is now available. It details what we asked, what they said and calls on the Victorian building and construction industry to end the culture of silence for mistreated women apprentices and trainees. 

Call to action

The culture of silence means that women apprentices and trainees in bad situations feel like there is nobody that can help them.

If you’re a co-worker of a woman apprentice or trainee, you can do something. You can offer support and call out bad behaviour. You can take action to make your workplace safe and productive for everybody.

Confidential help is available

Apprenticeship Support Officers (ASOs) help apprentices – and employers – get the most out of the apprenticeship system. They are located across Victoria and offer a free and confidential support and advice. 

Where VRQA can help

We are currently following up with 2 employers regarding allegations of breaches to training contracts made during the BuildUP campaign.

Where we find employers who mistreat women apprentices and trainees and don’t change their ways, we will remove their approval to employ apprentices and trainees in Victoria – simple as that.

Any apprentice or trainee with concerns can: