Yeah the girls: Zinfra’s huge uptick in women apprentices

Female energy employee in white hard hat with transmission tower in the background

As Australia strides towards a sustainable energy future, energy infrastructure company Zinfra is highlighting the urgent need for more women in the industry.

According to Zinfra general manager of projects and infrastructure Chuck Visedo, the underlying rationale is twofold: the current scarcity of skilled professionals to fuel the energy transition and the unique qualities and perspectives women bring to engineering and the energy industry more broadly.

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“The energy industry is at a pivotal moment, and the inclusion of women is not just beneficial but essential for the innovation and resilience required to navigate this transition.
“Diverse perspectives catalyse the creative solutions we desperately need,” Visedo said.

Visedo explained Zinfra’s commitment to diversity wasn’t just a checkbox exercise but a strategic imperative.

“Gender diversity within Zinfra isn’t just about improving numbers, it’s about harnessing the unique strengths and insights that women bring to our teams—from problem solving to leadership, the impact is profound and far reaching,” he said.

Zinfra is intensifying efforts to promote gender diversity and support women in energy, implementing strategies from the executive level down to cultivate an encouraging work culture. This includes aligning graduate programs and apprenticeships with the diversity strategy and targeted recruitment to identify the most qualified women for the role.

This approach has led to a notable uptick in women taking up apprenticeships at Zinfra, a total increase of 900% since 2020. Further, of the number of total apprenticeships awarded in 2024, 21.7% went to women—up from 4.3% in 2020.

Visedo admits the business and the industry more broadly have a long way to go but the trend is positive.

“We’re actively working to demystify the pathways into the energy sector for women, breaking down stereotypes and showcasing the vast opportunities available. It’s about creating a culture where women see themselves not just participating, but thriving and leading,” Visedo said.

Operations manager Louise Bishop joined Zinfra in 2000, starting on a gas transmission pipeline in Tasmania and eventually progressing to her current leadership role in Melbourne.

Highlighting the opportunities for growth and development she has experienced during her 24-year career with Zinfra, Bishop explained her leadership philosophy as one of paying it forward.

“I support and encourage many individuals on career journeys, and I am always on the lookout for anyone, particularly women, who demonstrates natural talent for leadership.
“Diversity of thought, perspective and leadership styles is essential for a strong team and successful organisation, and having strong representation of women is vital for this purpose,” Bishop said.

Visedo believes that there is a corporate responsibility to ensure the industry includes and represents women.

“Women significantly contribute to developing high performing teams and we have a massive responsibility to promote diversity. If we don’t lead the charge it’s not going to happen organically,” he said.

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“As a father of two young daughters, I’m personally invested in this journey. I want my girls to grow up in a world where their contributions to STEM are not just welcomed but celebrated. It’s a personal mission to ensure the energy sector becomes a leading example of gender equity.

“By championing female engineers today, we’re investing in a brighter, more diverse future for our industry,” he said.

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