Apprentice in Mechanical Trade (Fitting and Machining) Nicole Walker has some simple advice for other women thinking about the Metals trades – “get in there and have a go.”
The 18-year old first year apprentice at Mondelez International, maker of Cadbury, is doing her training at TasTAFE’s Bender Drive campus and is the first female apprentice in Mechanical Trade (Fitting and Machining) trained in seven years.
“I was a bit daunted going in. I hated high school and college but I came here (TasTAFE’s Bender Drive campus) and I sat back and thought, I actually really like it. For once in my life I want to get up and come here.
“The teachers are amazing. They treat me like one of the boys which is what I want – I don’t want special attention,” Nicole said.
What used to be known as a Fitter and Turner, mechanical tradespeople maintain and fix faults in a wide and varied range of hydraulic and electrical equipment and Nicole says it’s a role she loves.
“I studied Automotive at college and I got an idea of how things work and discovered I was interested in that. What I’m doing now is kind of similar- it’s still how machines work and how things work. I love it”
Nicole started her apprenticeship in January this year after submitting an application for an apprenticeship last year.
“I put in my application and then the wait began. It turned out I was the top applicant out of 100 people so I was really excited.”
“At the moment I’m placed with another apprentice – it’s a buddy system and I’m mostly just watching, but he encourages me and I’ve started to use the machines.”
Nicole’s goal is to finish her apprenticeship. “I set short-term goals and at the moment that’s just to get through each week and learn new things.
“My advice to other women looking to get into this career is, define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live. Just remember, you can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets. Life’s not about how hard you can hit, it’s about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward. One woman can make a difference, but together we can rock the world.”
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