Trade - Electrician (industrial) - Operator Maintainer

Age you entered your trade and how;
After repeating year 12 to gain entry into the Navy for a specific position, I found the position to be filled for that year with my marks not competitive enough even though I had not sat exams yet (I would have had to take a stroke of genius miracle).
I was faced with taking a seaman position, going to uni myself to prove my marks and maybe get a place the year after or stay with civil life. I had no idea what to do but my Dad encouraged me to further my education. I didn’t realise I “could” do an apprenticeship until he pointed it out.
I applied for everything that came up and even went to the local electrician where I lived in country SA. I had ranked my applications with group training schemes with electrical as a priority but was flexible. Being toward the end of the school year a lot of applications had closed or had been filled but after 3 rejection emails and countless no replies I received one offer of interview and aptitude testing. Walking into the room for testing was the first “I’m the only girl” moment, it was a bit of a shock.
I was successful in my aptitude test and interview and gained Group Training Scheme employment just before I turned 20 and had a brilliant apprenticeship across 3 sites.

What attracted you to your trade?
Working out of an office with my hands and brain. Pay and security is a factor too

What challenges did you face?
Many challenges. But being regional and alone has been quite the troublesome one in coping with the other challenges.

What kept you going?
Sheer determination.
That and I simply love my job. Flat out I wouldn’t have gotten through without that love alongside my determination. Nowadays with the support and linking networks across social media help me focus my negative energy but I didn’t have that for the first 6 years (though I did have a couple of brilliant engineers around me!

What makes you proud?
Completion. Being correct. Getting dirtier than the boys. Fixing stuff before people know it’s wrong or broken (this is my smarty-pants side). Helping people. Being a part of the several communities online. So many things contribute to my pride.

What do you think are the benefits of trade vs traditional?
For me; job satisfaction. I can see a physical difference I make. The pay and security again help.

What do you love most about your trade?
I love the industry I’m in. I know people think I’m being a suck, but I love the energy industry and how things work. Being an Operator Maintainer gives me so much flexibility and the best of all worlds.
I also have a secret love/hate for people’s reactions when they meet me/find out my occupation.

What triumphs have you had?
Creating and being a part of a massive female support community, even though my portion is online. I am hopeful for more triumphs in this sector.
Apprentice of the year in EEAGTS in 2009 for first years.
Completing my apprenticeship living away from home

What do you do in your spare time?
Studying an advanced diploma in engineering, my dog (Yogi Bear, locally known as Houdini), renovations, travel, friends, family and community including Lady Tradies and Rocking Chicks.

If I have time after that fitness and nutrition but they suffer on occasion!