At Macmahon, one of our goals is to attract women into non-traditional roles like electrical and mechanical trades. In the past, women may have been intimidated to join a male-dominated industry, but times are changing and Macmahon is leading the charge.
Macmahon is a registered training organisation, so we can train apprentices off-site. Starting a new career can be daunting and we find off-site learning makes for a softer landing. When it’s time to go on-site, our apprentices are ready to take on the challenge.
Our Perth workshop repairs a wide range of heavy mobile mining equipment. The apprentices learn from knowledgeable mentors, some with over 20 years of experience, in a supportive environment that empowers their career development. They also earn on the job!
This year we welcomed Hayley De Kleer into an Auto Electrician apprenticeship. Hayley has always wanted to do a trade. She took the plunge and is now busy stripping down a 793 Cat dump truck and rebuilding it from the chassis up. While Hayley admits it’s been challenging acclimatising to the trade environment, she has found her team supportive.
“The best thing I've learnt so far is that I can work in a male-dominated trade. It's scary at first! But it's been good learning what my strengths are and what I can achieve,” says Hayley.
“The team is really good at making the work environment welcoming and is willing to adapt to us and how we learn instead of trying to mould us a certain way, which is awesome.”
Chelsea Hogan is a first-year HD Mechanic. She was attracted to Macmahon because she heard of our good reputation at her pre-apprenticeship course. While Chelsea was worried she wouldn’t get in, her obvious dedication to an apprenticeship helped her swiftly secure a role.
Chelsea is currently doing a dogging course. She’s learning to sling uploads, including correct techniques and safety factors. Chelsea finds the heavy machinery challenging but knows she’ll get the hang of it.
“It's not called 'heavy diesel mechanics' for nothing. The machines we work on are huge and extremely heavy. The torque we need to get bolts up to is very high, and it takes a lot of muscle power.” says Chelsea.
Chelsea is looking forward to moving into the transmission bay. She knows the people there are knowledgeable and she’ll be getting the best kind of education.
Our second-year apprentice, HD Mechanic Chloe Edwards, has always been interested in motorbikes, so she knew mechanics was the right career choice. Chloe appreciates the supportiveness of her supervisors.
“They’re constantly on the floor asking us questions about our jobs, giving us tips and extra information. I'm very comfortable with my supervisors, which is unfortunate for them because sometimes I can talk their ears off!” says Chloe.
We asked Hayley, Chelsea and Chloe to share some advice for other women who wanted to get into a trade. They shared their valuable wisdom.
“It will be overwhelming at first, but in the end, it will be worth it. You'll learn lots of new things that will help you outside of work too. You’ll make new friends, develop new skills and get paid to work. I wouldn't change what I do for the world,” says Hayley.
“If you’re thinking about it, just jump in and give it a go. If you don't like it, you will realise pretty quickly,” says Chloe.
“You need to see every challenge as a learning curve, every stuff up as a chance to grow and every criticism as a reason to keep going. Our job as passionate female mechanics is to show that we can be just as capable as anyone else. There's a place for us in this trade,” says Chelsea.