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Empowering our TAC women

WOMEN MAKE UP A VERY SMALL PROPORTION OF THE TOMAGO WORKFORCE BUT A LACK OF NUMBERS IS NOT REFLECTING A LACK OF CONFIDENCE OR ABILITY.

Since May, many of TAC’s female workers have been learning Krav Maga, a form of self-defence, in workshops initiated by HR advisor Kieran Turner.

The workshops were not motivated by a lack of progressiveness on the Tomago worksite but by a desire to reinforce camaraderie among the female workers.

“This is more around working for our women because they are a much smaller group on site  - about seven per cent of the total workforce - and we wanted to reinforce the fact there are other people on site they can talk to.

“We wanted to create a more supportive environment and we want to give the women who are here the confidence to move up the leadership ladder,” Kieran said.

TAC Women

The workshops were originally created to encourage networking through a fun, shared experience, to get Tomago’s women together and have a talking point through something that was engaging.

Kieran chose Krav Maga (it means ‘contact combat’ in Hebrew), a form of self-defence developed and used by the Israeli Defence Force. The workshops involve short, sharp and (pardon the pun) punchy training sessions where self-defence is learned quickly.

The method has proven useful for building confidence because it changes people’s psychological patterns and opinions of themselves and their lives in general, encouraging the sort of self-discovery in which people realise they are far more capable than they thought.

“During the workshops people have to be positive. It’s hard to be a jerk when you’re getting kicked in the groin!” Kieran says with a laugh.

“I  trained in it myself  and I know the confidence it can give. It’s about working on a unique set of skills that may actually be useful at some point and could potentially save a person’s life.

“It also gives our female workers a talking point, something with which they can initiate a conversation. They may see each other in the change rooms at shift change and if they don’t really know each other they immediately have a social contact point, a bonding experience.”

The conversations that start in training, Kieran says, continue long after the sessions have finished.

Training workshops started in May and are held in the main presentation room every second Tuesday between 7-8am to cover each shift. The first session had 14 participants – essentially every woman working on shift that day. The second session comprised 12 people – again, every female on shift.

“We do cram a lot of things in. It’s a great kickstart to the morning and gets the blood pumping.”

“We’ve had very positive feedback – a few of the girls have already said they are more confident,” Kieran said.

Because of the positivity around the workshops, we are hoping to continue them with more opportunities for everyone on site to be part of the training.

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