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Meet the women building the $835m John Hunter Hospital Redevelopment

As work progresses on the new $835 million John Hunter Health and Innovation Precinct (JHHIP), women employed on the project are contributing valuable skills and building their careers, making up 16 per cent of the workers on site each day.

Health Infrastructure Executive Director of Rural and Regional projects Amanda Bock said Health Infrastructure is an active supporter of the NSW Government's Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program and has initiatives in place at the JHHIP project to attract, upskill and retain women working in the construction industry.

“Health Infrastructure is working with government and industry partners to create a more diverse and sustainable construction sector by encouraging women to learn new skills and start a career in construction in a number of ways,” Ms Bock said.

“Programs like Smart and Skilled offer free and subsidised trade and training courses available through TAFE NSW, paving the way for employment opportunities on projects like the John Hunter redevelopment once they attain their qualifications.

“The women working on site each day are employed in a diverse range of roles including project management, procurement, site supervision, carpentry and transport.

“They’re playing a significant role in delivering a major health infrastructure project for the Hunter community.”
The JHHIP will create around 1,500 direct jobs, with the potential to support thousands of indirect jobs over the life of the project.

The project’s contractor Multiplex is also tasked with creating and supporting more jobs for women through initiatives like their Jump Start program, which offers high school students a chance to join the team working on the John Hunter redevelopment for site walks, mentoring sessions, interactive workshops, panel discussions and more.

The aim is to show students what it’s really like to work in construction and the diverse range of rewarding careers on offer, from project management to trades. To date, there are 26 students involved in the John Hunter Jump Start program.

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, we are highlighting some of the talented women already working on the JHHIP.

Narelle Bromilow, Project Director, Health Infrastructure, has been working in construction for more than 20 years on complex health projects across NSW including the new Maitland Hospital. Narelle is motivated to work on projects that make a valuable contribution to regional areas. She says that International Women's Day is a time to think about the changes required to bring about gender equality, especially in the construction industry.

Jemma Lawson began as a site supervisor one month ago after working her way up from apprentice carpenter to junior foreman on jobs in Newcastle, Sydney and the Central Coast. Her job involves coordinating the different trades working on the job, so the project stays on track. She loves her job and is committed to being a good example for other young women looking to join the industry.

Mia Brennan has been an apprentice carpenter for Multiplex for just over a year and loves being in a hands-on job where every day is different. With her mother, sister and brother all working in health, Mia is proud to be working on the new hospital building that will care for her community long into the future. She says there is a long way to go before the gender split on site is equal but would recommend a career in construction to other women.

The JHHIP will greatly increase the capacity to provide essential healthcare services to Newcastle, the greater Hunter region and northern NSW communities. Due for completion in 2027 it will include:
  • New Emergency department and more adult and paediatric critical care services
  • Birthing suite and inpatient maternity unit
  • Neonatal intensive care unit and special care nursery
  • rooftop helipad
  • Operating theatres, interventional and procedure spaces; and
  • More than 900 car spaces for staff and visitors.

For more information visit the project website.
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