Kogan Creek Power Station

Investing in women at CS Energy

04 Mar 2024
  • Employees
  • Safety

This International Women’s Day, themed ‘Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress’, we’re spotlighting one woman’s story about advocating for inclusivity in the workplace, and highlighting how we're investing in female leaders at CS Energy.

Working as a qualified electrician for more than 10 years, Electrical Technical Officer Mel Street - who is part of our Future Energy team based in Kogan Creek - is no stranger to advocate for inclusivity in the workplace.

Mel Street tools content body

“I repeatedly advocate for attraction and retention efforts of women in non-traditional industries,” said Mel, who is the founder of a community supporting women in non-traditional industries: Lady Tradies and Rocking Chicks (LTARC).

“As we bring in more women, we won’t get the rapid progress required if we continue to lose the women we already have. Whilst women being in positions has an impact, we need support from industry for lasting impact.”

Mel’s work with LTARC recently saw her named as a finalist in the Empowered Women in Trades Awards in the Diversity and Inclusion category, which she said was an absolute honour, especially for a volunteer-led, non-funded organisation.

“It’s important that there are established accessible networks, like LTARC, for those who need it,” Mel said.

“By having this support available, together we can overcome industry challenges.”

Mel Street women in trades award content body

Real inclusion, real impact

An example of how a small, inclusive change can make a big impact for women came about at a previous workplace Mel worked at, when she found there was no maternity flame retardant PPE available.

“At the time I was planning to work until I was 38 weeks pregnant, so it was important I had one shirt to fit for my entire pregnancy instead of having to change sizes as my body continued to change," she said.

“Even prior to my pregnancy, I had issues with the women’s options available and looked on and off for two years – I knew maternity would be an extra challenge.

“Whilst I found standard options, there was nothing available for flame retardant.

“It wasn’t until I was 18 weeks that I finally found custom PPE, including flame retardant maternity wear, though because of issues with procurement and manufacturing, I didn’t receive the order until I was 28 weeks pregnant.

“After my experience, I worked with my employer at the time on a system to manage uniforms within the company to enable fast delivery of PPE.”

CS Energy stocks maternity shirts and trousers for women in a range of sizes.

Investing in women in leadership

Investment in women is growing at CS Energy as we take steps to ensure they are equally represented in new leadership programs, and we focus on increasing women in non-traditional roles across our sites.

Principal Organisational Capability Advisor, Hannah O’Brien says several women leaders across our sites and divisions are taking part in new development programs to invest not only in themselves, but to set their teams up for success.

“When shortlisting leaders during the nomination process, we focused on having a number of women participate to ensure there was accurate representation across the business,” Hannah said.

“Of the participants in our new leadership programs, women make up 38 per cent of the Enterprise Leadership Program and 24 per cent of Powering Tomorrow’s Leaders.

“Topics that will be covered in the programs include improving people management, leadership, and strategic capability – drilling down into key skills such as motivating teams, effective project management, and having difficult conversations.

“While we have a way to go, investment and women's representation in initiatives like these development programs is an important step for CS Energy.”

As our workforce grows, women in leadership roles across CS Energy have increased from 19 per cent in 2019 to 28 per cent in 2023.

“Along with these programs, we also have a focus on increasing women in non-traditional roles across our business, which currently sits at around 10 per cent,” Hannah said.

“We are doing this by increasing our intake of pathway programs including graduates, apprentices, and trainees, and are reinvigorating our Employee Value Proposition which will ensure we prioritise attracting women into the business and non-traditional roles.

“As well as this, we are focused on the retention of women at CS Energy and are tracking engagement of our women employees in Employee Engagement surveys throughout the year.”

CS Energy is an endorsed employer for all women by WORK180 and has had a gender pay parity since 2016, conducting annual reviews to maintain this standard. In 2024, CS Energy was recognised as a Top 101 employer for women.