My warmest wishes to you as 2020 heads towards its long-awaited end and my thanks for your contribution to Tradeswomen Australia through what has been a challenging period – especially for our tradeswomen as they have overcome even more considerable barriers to success, not least in the volatility of COVID19 with lockdowns and unemployment – for themselves and their families.


Despite these uncertain times, under the leadership of all our committed Directors, I’m so proud to share with you Tradeswomen Australia’s progress on so many fronts in 2020, against the odds.


We have been so honoured that Susan Alberti AC has joined us as Patron and that AFLW star tradeswomen Kendra Heil has become an inspirational Ambassadors.


We are hugely grateful to our Founder and Managing Director Fiona McDonald for her extraordinary heavy lifting this year and to her dedicated colleagues including Frank Kennedy, Sarah Curley, Andrew Power, Richard Dent and Ron Smith – thank you all – your commitment to our purpose is exemplary – your dedication to Tradeswomen Australia and our Team is momentous. 


Miraculously, when many of our loyal supporters saw us so challenged during the COVID19 pandemic, those who could, kindly and rapidly responded enabling us to pivot and progress with our mission. Thanks particularly to WorkSafe empowering important diversity and inclusion work in the automotive industry to improve worker wellbeing, competitiveness and innovation – with over 100 workplaces and 5,000 workers engaged,  we are immensely grateful for the enthusiasm of the sector and the opportunities that lay ahead to make a real difference. We also celebrate our leading industry partners including Fletchers Building Group, Programmed Pty Ltd, WPC Group, Master Builders Newcastle, MAS National, Builders Academy Australia, Edge Electrical and Communications, and VERTO – exemplars in enlightened business practice, it is a joy to work with you and to build your capacity through more women in trades.


In 2020 our hardworking Strategy and Industry Reference Councils have furthered its critical work – my thanks to all members and to leaders Kit McMahon, Professor Anne Jones and Laura Birch . Incredibly thirty-nine strategies have been identified to engage with women and girls to educate them about trade pathways; nineteen strategies have been identified to recruit more women into trade jobs; and fifteen strategies have been identified to retain women working in trade jobs. This important work very much informs our focus.


This year has seen a significant uplift in engagement with government and the media with three national News Stories – ABC, Channel 9 News, Channel 9 A Current Affair; seven news articles in The Australian, The Age and The Geelong Advertiser, ten Radio interviews including with ABC Brisbane, ABC Newcastle, Western Victoria News-ABC NEWS and 3AW. We are grateful to Ron and Shirley Smith at CMC for their immense efforts here. Additionally, there has been mammoth wider stakeholder engagement activity including ten online seminar events with over 600 attendees; five training sessions delivered to 170 employees; five Platinum Sponsors, 1 Silver Sponsor and 2 Bronze Sponsors; over a million secured in funding; delivered Training to 12 corporate clients nationally and was widely engaged at Federal, State and Local Government levels.


A particular highlight for me has been the establishment of the TWA Group further to the formation of our distinct deductible gift recipient entity – Tradeswomen Australia Community Foundation – dedicated to supporting vulnerable and at-risk women to transition to financial and life security through careers in trades. I am extremely grateful to our highly credentialled inaugural Chair Janet Cribbes, our esteemed board of directors and our esteemed Senior Associate Richard Dent, and inspired by our rapid growth already gratefully receiving significant funding to progress our mission including from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, our Patron Susan Alberti and matching funding from TM2.0.


As I head off on a break, to spend precious time with my loved ones, please accept my heartfelt appreciation for your part in supporting what has been an extraordinary year.


I wish you peace and time to rest and reflect as we together compose our new normal in 2021.


Sincerest wishes,




Jane Sydenham-Clarke, GAICD

Chair, Tradeswomen Australia