A NEW scholarship program has been designed to get more women into male-dominated industries.

The State Government hopes the program will be part of an effort to boost the number of skilled workers across the state.

The Supporting Women Scholarships aim to attract more women to study agricultural science, architecture, engineering, geological science, building services and information technology.

Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek said women who were just finishing school, women looking to change careers and women currently out of the workforce and returning to study were eligible.

"Winners will be able to use the scholarship money to offset costs associated with study, such as fees, textbooks and course materials."

The selection committee will be headed by Skills Queensland chief executive Rod Camm, who said the program was a $10 million initiative.

"When you look at the Queensland labour market, workplace participation is critical for our future economy and that means actively expanding the number of people participating in the labour market," he said.

"In Queensland, women have a significantly lower participation rate than men.

"So this initiative is about trying to encourage a broader range of people that are able to access some of these exciting careers that are beginning to grow in Queensland."

Mr Camm said the government's scholarship strategy was designed to be non-specific, in the sense that it could be applied to a range of professions.

"The selection committee is really committed to being quite broad in our consideration of the applications, so we are going to consider everything from actual life experience to the nature of the actual program itself," Mr Camm said.

Big Chance

Applications close October 12 for scholarships starting at the beginning of the 2013 academic year

Winners will be notified in December

Each scholarship, valued at up to $20,000 over four years, provides practical assistance to women at various stages of their working life.

Up to 500 scholarships will be awarded to women of all ages and backgrounds

To apply or find out more information go to skills.qld.gov.au/supportingwomen.



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