Building a better future for women: ACT honours leader

A business leader who has championed employing more women in the construction industry has been named the ACT’s Australian of the Year for 2024.

Jo Farrell founded Build Like A Girl in 2020, a non-profit program that supports girls and women to work in trades.

The organisation matches females with pre-apprenticeship and entry-level training, then mentors them to secure work in the construction industry.

Ms Farrell’s company Kane Constructions ACT has itself gone from having six per cent female staff in February 2020 to a 48 per cent female team in December 2022.

She also led construction of Strathnairn Charity House, a project designed and mostly built by women, which was auctioned in March with proceeds distributed to local charities.

The ACT’s Senior Australian of the Year is volunteer and multiculturalism advocate Ebenezer Banful.

The 66-year-old arrived in Australia more than three decades ago and has raised the profile of Ghanaian and African values in the territory, as well as assisted newly arrived people to integrate into Canberra.

The Companion House community organisation that he helped found supports survivors of persecution, torture and other war-related trauma.

The ACT’s Young Australian of the Year is Caitlin Figueiredo, who co-founded a political leadership group called Girls Take Over Parliament.

Ms Figueiredo has also been a key figure on the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition board, a national advocacy body for young people.

Ngunnawal woman and ACT Reconciliation Council co-chair Selina Walker has been named Local Hero.

National Australia Day Council CEO Mark Fraser said the four recipients were remarkable individuals, all committed to empowering others and improving lives.

The national awards ceremony will be held in Canberra on January 25.


Paul Osborne
(Australian Associated Press)


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