Three female apprentices in high visibility attire

Ventia has signed on as a founding member with social enterprise HERconnect, an organisation focused on empowering women to find sustainable employment. 

Founded by two women in the resources sector, HERconnect helps connect industry with government and community to deliver employment opportunities for disadvantaged, marginalised and at-risk women. 

One of the founders, Katie Bain, is a commercial manager based in WA and it was her experience with social procurement on large resources and infrastructure projects, as well as a passion for empowering women and advancing gender diversity, that led her to create HERconnect.

"The concept of HERconnect was born out of the work I did with Ventia, connecting them to the Boronia Pre-release Centre for Women in WA in 2020, helping open pathways for women to join the organisation," Katie says. 

"Boronia prepares rehabilitated women for re-entry into the community by offering meaningful rehabilitation activities and work placements."

With HERconnect, we have been able to expand our network to provide sustainable employment opportunities for women from a range of other often overlooked backgrounds, including veterans, refugees and survivors of domestic violence. We truly believe in the value these women bring to our industry via diversity of experience, thought and culture.

Improving opportunities for women in the workplace

Katie and her fellow founder Kobie Olsen have been connecting with teams across Ventia, including our Indigenous employment team TRECCA, Diversity and Inclusion Working Party, and our projects based in Western Australia to discuss opportunities.

Group Executive People and Capability Charmaine Higgins said she was very proud to see Ventia sign this agreement, as improving opportunities for women in the workplace is key to our growth.

"There are so many benefits to working with organisations like HERconnect," Charmaine says.

Increasing female participation in sectors like infrastructure services is a great start, but there are also benefits to the community in reduced costs of disadvantage like social housing and health care.

"Being part of initiatives that give women financial independence and stability is something we can all be proud of and we're all looking forward to seeing successful engagement between our teams and HERconnect."

Social Inclusion Manager Loes Westerbeek says that she was really impressed when she heard about what Katie and Kobie have created. 

"It's the passion and drive of people like this in our communities that remind me why I love my job," Loes says. "I am so pleased that at Ventia, we can be part of their journey to provide women around Australia with meaningful work opportunities."


Learn more about HERconnect:

Read more about Sustainable Procurement at Ventia: