The massive gender inequity in the Australian construction industry is one of several issues to be examined by researchers at the University of Newcastle.
The prestigious Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education has awarded Associate Professor Tony Williams and Mr Willy Sher a grant to study how universities teach students construction management, quantity surveying and building surveying.
Associate Professor Williams, Head of the School of Architecture and Built Environment, said the construction industry was traditionally dominated by males.
"Females are not well represented in this line of work and we will look at strategies to increase the number of women studying in the field," he said.
"With the industry going through a boom period, and building graduates being in such great demand, we will also look at whether Australian academic programs are keeping pace with the industry's needs."
Associate Professor Williams said work experience for graduates was an important part of a tertiary education.
"Like any industry, we want to prepare work-ready graduates who are skilled, qualified and can hit the ground running.
"We want to know what kind of people Australian universities are sending into the built environment industry, and whether or not the graduates can be better prepared for the workplace.
"This project will start in August and run for 18 months, involving several industry groups who we will report to at the end of our research. We'll also be running a forum and publishing a book on our results."
This is the second Carrick Institute grant received by the School of Architecture and Built Environment in the last six months.
"This is a major success for the School to receive these grants as it means that Newcastle is leading the educational research in the building sector in Australia," Associate Professor Williams said.