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- Exciting new courses on offer in 2008
- New Plumbing Technology Centre doubles capacity for apprentices
- Riverina Institute celebrates best of the best at Excellence Awards
- TAFE Teacher travels to the coal face
- Sparking an interest: Electrical - the thinking girls trade
- All Abroad for TAFE Diploma graduate with $7000 Award
Sparking an interest: Electrical - the thinking girls trade
Sparking an interest: Electrical - the thinking girls trade…
Over the years, trades jobs have been mostly dominated by men. In fact very few trade areas (excluding the obvious like cookery, hair dressing and beauty therapy) have many women at all.
Why is it then, that so many women are being attracted into the electrical trade?
Three women who have enrolled at Riverina Institute’s Wagga Wagga Campus explain.
“If you’ve got the smarts, you can become a sparky,” says 47 year old second year apprentice Christine Stidwill. “And the pay is good too!”
“Why work inside, in an office when you can be active and work outside?” asks 18 year old 1st year apprentice Amie White. “I really love being an electrician.”
Christine decided to do her apprenticeship when her partner John Haslam of John Haslam Electrics asked her to work in the business.
“Working with high voltage electricity is too dangerous not to be trained properly, so I became an apprentice,” says Christine who has been involved in the building industry since emigrating from New Zealand over twenty years ago.
“Before this position I was employed to run the cabinet making workshop at Bostocks – so it was a natural progression, but I wish I’d done it when I was a lot younger!”
For 18 year old Amie White, electricity was in the blood.
“My dad was a ‘sparky’ and I thought it was a good trade to get into,” explains Amie. “I completed my HSC last year and did really well in 2 Unit Math and Chemistry, scoring 75 – 80 in both subjects.”
Amie works with Transgrid who own and operate the high voltage electricity transmission network throughout New South Wales.
“Transgrid is a really good employer. They offer a good rate of pay and I really get looked after, my supervisor is really supportive and looks after me.”
Amie says after completing her apprenticeship she’d like to go to University to study engineering.
“Transgrid offers opportunities for university scholarships, so that’s what I’d like to do.”
At 47 Christine says she is also looking forward to completing her apprenticeship.
“It means I’ll be able to be left on a job site by myself and will be responsible for it. And there’s a lot of money to be made once you qualify,” added Christine who would like to get into commercial and architectural lighting.
For Amie – it’s all about the wiring…
“I just love connecting things up and making them work, I love circuits and physical wiring.”
“This is definitely the right trade for me…Some of the other trades are a little too physically demanding and you get to use your brains as an electrician.”
Christine agrees saying, “Electrical is definitely the thinking person’s trade, you need more brains than brawn in this industry.”
Both women are enrolled in the Certificate III Electrotechnolgy Systems Electrician at Wagga Wagga Campus. They follow in the footsteps of 2007 Leeton Campus graduate Alison Douglas.
Alison was a finalist in the 2007 Riverina Training Awards Apprentice of the Year and is now enjoying her role as a design officer and project manager for Country Energy in Griffith.
“The job is challenging but I am still enjoying it,” says Alison. “I design projects from start to finish, working out all the details for positioning of lines, size of transformers and so forth. Then I draw it up electronically to ensure it means all the standards."
Alison also surveys the site, liaises with all the stakeholders including community groups, councils, utilities, Aboriginal Land Council and Department of Lands.
"My training provided me with solid knowledge of the electrical industry," says Alison. "The wide variety of subjects gave me a greater understanding of the electrical demands of the customers I deal with."
Alison believes the grounding she received with Riverina Institute was a key factor in obtaining her current role.
"It is very important to understand the principles of electricity in design as the system needs to be electrically sound, efficient, safe and meet the requirements of various standards."
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