Elevate pathway propels Sienna into an exciting career - St Mary's Anglican Girls' School

Elevate pathway propels Sienna into an exciting career

POSTED May 31 2023 , Academic, News, Senior School

I did not expect when I started my journey at St Mary’s in Pre-primary that I would be completing a Certificate II in Automotive Servicing Technology (Heavy Vehicle Servicing Pre-apprenticeship) in my final years of school.  I fell into it when I was a bit stuck with what options I had for my Year 11 work placement in Semester 1. I spoke with our Careers Advisor about my interests, and at some point, I mentioned that it would be cool to work on cars or mechanical and electrical ‘stuff’. My teacher, Miss Tyson, gave me the courage and confidence to pursue that interest and with some help, I began searching for a company to take me on for work experience in that field.

As a St Mary’s student, we are fortunate to have many people at the school who offer places for work experience and, fortunately, Construction Equipment Australia (CEA) was one of them. I drove out with my mum for an interview with the CEO to a huge warehouse facility in Welshpool, where we discussed not only the work placement but the option of potentially starting a career with CEA in the electrical and heavy machinery field.  The CEO, Phillip, was so positive and excited to have a young St Mary’s student genuinely interested in working in a field typically dominated by men.

After the interview, I began my new adventure with CEA. It was a bit daunting at first, as I noticed the only other female in the building was sitting behind the front desk at reception. Coming from an all-girls school, you could say it was a bit different working with a big group of middle-aged men every day. Throughout my two-week work placement, I learnt basic skills, like how to use a drill and during that time I met so many nice and hardworking people. After completing the placement (and loving it), I was offered a permanent, paid position as a trainee, working one day per week. As I wanted to finish Year 12 and graduate rather than diving straight into an electrical apprenticeship, I chose to take up this awesome opportunity.

A typical day at CEA starts at 7.30am with a coffee and a morning chat with the staff. After a quick briefing with my boss, Glenn, I find out what the day’s work will entail and who I will be working alongside. Most days, I am working with the only other electrician, Andy, and some days with Rob. They are both great teachers and mentors. I work on machines with them and gather knowledge as I perform required tasks. Some of the machinery we service or make, are huge, multimillion-dollar generators, lighting towers and air compressors for big mining companies, such as BHP and Rio Tinto. I cannot actually believe that they let me near these machines with a drill in hand.

I am extremely grateful for St Mary’s Elevate pathway and for studying Careers and Enterprise.  With the help of St Mary’s staff, I identified my interests and they helped me to secure work experience in a field that is nothing like I could have imagined. Over the course of my traineeship and work placement, I have learnt to dive into the deep end and try something different.