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News | April 2024

What A Pair! Steel Blue steps up for female tradies, on- and off-site

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Steel Blue’s annual What A Pair campaign raises awareness among women in trades about the importance of regular breast cancer checks.

Steel Blue has a long and proud history of supporting women in trades, both on and off the job site.

The Australian-owned work boot manufacturer has raised more than $1.9 million for Breast Cancer Care. The company also recently announced a partnership with Empowered Women in Trades (EWIT) designed to get more women to consider careers in the traditionally male-dominated sector.

Steel Blue helping women into trades

Getting more women into trades is vital to the Australian economy. The National Skills Commission says 42% of trades are experiencing a shortage of workers. Infrastructure Australia forecasts the country will have a deficit of 131,000 full-time tradies and labourers this year. Yet just 16% of trade jobs are filled by women. In some trades, the figure is as low as three per cent.

Steel Blue chief executive officer Peter Bell said Steel Blue continues to encourage and enable more women into trades and done their part through designing work boots specially made for women.

“It’s become part of our DNA to remove obstacles to women joining the trades, whether that’s obstacles they experience on-site, like having comfortable boots to wear, or off-site, like tackling breast cancer, or having an opportunity to get a start in a trade in the first place,” he said.

“When we started making work boots for women, there just weren’t any options out there. Women were forced to wear uncomfortable, heavy boots made for men. Now, we have one of the largest ranges of true ladies fit work boots in Australia.”

Steel Blue - Pink Color Ladies Work Boots

Steel Blue supporting EWIT

Peter said sales of Steel Blue’s true ladies fit work boots had grown from nine per cent to 12 per cent over the past five years.

“Part of this growth can be attributed to organisations like EWIT supporting more women to consider a skilled trade,” he said.

In 2023, EWIT introduced 5,000 Australian women to careers in trades. Founder and chief executive Hacia Atherton hopes to raise that number to 50,000 in the coming years. The organisation has a target of achieving 30 per cent female representation in trades by 2030.

“Embarking on a career in trades can be a transformative experience and we want to make this transition as smooth as possible, and that includes addressing the practical concern of footwear comfort,” Ms Atherton said.

Steel Blue has provided over 100 pairs of work boots for EWIT to give to women starting their trades career, including 20 pairs that recently were given to those who were experiencing challenges getting the right tools to get on site.

Steel Blue supporting breast cancer charities

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Steel Blue’s What A Pair campaign encourages women to check their breasts for cancer.

National Breast Cancer Foundation figures show about 57 Australians are diagnosed with breast cancer every single day. Nearly three of those people will be women under the age of 40.

“For the best part of two decades, $10 from every pair of our special pink and purple women’s charity boots has gone to breast cancer charities,” Peter said.

“The funds raised has supported Breast Cancer Care WA in Australia to  provide services like free-of-charge breast cancer nursing, counselling, and financial and practical support. The pink boot initiative also runs in New Zealand in support of Sweet Louise to provide practical support and emotional support for those living with incurable breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Care WA chief executive Max Clarke said: “We are proud and extremely grateful for our long-standing partnership with Steel Blue.  Their financial support has had an incredible impact on our community, but the partnership goes much further than that. Early detection of breast cancer saves lives, and Steel Blue’s steadfast commitment to raising awareness around this important issue is exceptional.”

Steel Blue championing women on- and off-site

Mr Bell said Steel Blue was proud to champion and support women in trades through its partnerships with breast cancer charities and EWIT.

“These kinds of partnerships play a big role in changing the landscape for female tradies, and Steel Blue is proud to be at the forefront of this transformation,” he said.

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