NECA Education & Careers and NIRODAH partner to develop EMPOWER program

Kathryn Whitfield BeltonApprenticeships, Careers, Employers, NewsLeave a Comment

Paul Zappa, NIRODAH founder, presenting an Empower session to NECA Education & Careers studentsIn trying to increase the number of women in the electrical trade we looked at potential barriers to women entering the trade, and we were led to looking at the hyper-masculine culture in male dominated industries that negatively impacts employees regardless of gender. This culture often leads to aggressive behaviours, creates toxic environments and dramatically increases the chances of suicide attempts within the younger demographic. The data around this is quite confronting.

  • 1 in 4 youth have reported being bullied in the last 4 weeks[2]
  • Peers are present in 85% of bullying interactions, mostly as onlookers who do nothing to help the victim[1]
  • 64% of Victorian women have experienced bullying, harassment or violence at work[2]

As a safety conscious business it was a rude awakening that although we live and breathe PPE, SWMS, and manual handling, we were bystanders when it came to the bullying and harassing behaviours that have permeated our industry.

We have since partnered with NIRODAH to develop the Empower Program which will see a range of workshops delivered to all the Pre-Apprentices & Apprentices attending our trade school. These workshops focus on understanding habits, building emotional intelligence, driving bystander activation & working with strengths.

NIRODAH specialise in empowering people with the skills and knowledge to understand their own, and others’ emotions and to learn to respond with compassion and empathy rather than anger and frustration.

By working with NIRODAH we have been able to develop programs that teach our apprentices the skills they need to be active in the prevention of bullying, harassment and discriminatory behaviours, build resilience and self-awareness and strengthen their leadership skills with a hope that when they complete their apprenticeship they are equipped not only with the skills they need to be amazing electricians but also amazing people.

We see the Pre-Apprentices and Apprentices as part of our family, and want them all to have an equally positive start to their careers. Creating, and helping them to create, a culture of respect, is key to our commitment to providing a safe and supportive environment for our Pre-Apprentices and Apprentices.

“NIRODAH have had the pleasure of delivering workshops to NECA Education & Careers staff and apprentices in 2018. These workshop explore the topics of respect, masculinity, gender equality and developing positive culture. We have been impressed by the NECA Education & Careers staff who are driving the initiative as well as the engagement and energy of the apprentice cohort. We look forward to continuing our work with NECA Education & Careers, assisting them to develop a culture of respect and safety in their education centre.” Paul Zappa (Founder, NIRODAH)

“We have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of our students by giving them the life skills around leadership, resilience and respectful relationships. These skills will be a driving force for them reaching their goals and being the best they can be” Steve Marshall (Training Operations Manager, NECA Education & Careers)

[1] Bullying Statistics in Australia (

[2] Women’s rights at work report (Victorian Trades Hall)


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