Joanne Farrell, whose program supports girls and women entering the trades to find work in the construction industry, has been named the ACT Australian of the Year for 2024.
Ms Farrell's Build Like A Girl, a not-for-profit program, links women with pre-apprenticeship and entry level training and provides mentoring support to help them find construction industry jobs.
Build Like A Girl was launched in 2020 by Ms Farrell, who is general manager at Kane Constructions.
Kane Constructions had a 48 per cent female workforce in December 2022, up from 6 per cent in February 2020, since Ms Farrell, 45, began pushing for a better gender balance at the company.
The award was announced at a ceremony at the National Gallery of Australia on Monday evening.
Ms Farrell said in 2021 she had spent decades in the industry as the only woman on work sites and wanted the sector to recognise women as its most overlooked resource.
"It's apparent to me when I try and engage in our tradeswomen for jobs that they're just not there," she told The Canberra Times.
Ms Farrell said providing a mentor, to support women and tackle the difficulties of the male-dominated industries, would help keep them in the sector.
Ebenezer Banful OAM, 66, was named the territory's Senior Australian of the year for his dedication advocating for multiculturalism and supporting newly arrived communities in Canberra.
Mr Banful helped found Companion House, which provides support to survivors of torture and persecution, and has long volunteered at the National Multicultural Festival.
Ms Figueiredo, who has addressed the United Nations, co-founded Girls Take Over Parliament, a political leadership group that links up young women from political parties and supports them with bipartisan training.
"We're here to send a message, we are powerful," Ms Figueiredo said on the lawns of Parliament House in 2017 at the first Girls Take Over Parliament event.
Selina Walker, a Ngunnawal woman, was named the ACT's 2024 Local Hero, in recognition of her work supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and reconciliation in the territory.
Ms Walker has served as co-chair of the ACT Reconciliation Council since 2018, was a founding member of the Yerrabi Yurwang Child and Family Aboriginal Corporation and has been an advocate on the ACT Victims of Crime and Justice Committee.
Ms Walker, who has fostered children and provides respite care, was named ACT Barnados Mother of the Year in 2017.
"I feel lucky and privileged that I had a really good upbringing. I had two wonderful parents who taught me that it doesn't matter what you have so long as you have each other and there's love in the family, that's all you need. So that's what I teach the [kids] now," she said at the time.
National Australia Day Council chief executive Mark Fraser said the award recipients in the ACT were remarkable individuals, committed to empowering others and improving lives.
"I wish them all the best at the national awards in January when finalists from around the nation gather here in Canberra," Mr Fraser said.
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