Emma is a passionate, successful Metal Fabricator based in Young, QLD. She took time out of her busy schedule to sit down and chat about her experiences so far in the industry:
Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed Emma. We’re interested to find out why you chose metal fabrication?
I’ve always been interested in welding – both my grandparents owned farms and my dad used to work on one of them. Growing up I watched my dad weld and thought to myself, it would be cool to get into that. Fortunately, my high school offered metalwork as a subject. However, I was concerned about being the only girl in the class and made a pact with my friend to join with me. Unfortunately, without knowing, my friend pulled out, and I was left on my own! After two weeks in the class I honestly had had enough, and wanted to pull out, but it was the support from my mum who encouraged me to stay. I kept at it and fell in love with the trade.
We’re so glad you stuck with it. How did you find your apprenticeship?
I was concerned that it would be hard to find an apprenticeship and when I approached an employer in her local town they were all sceptical of my abilities. Being a high school student at the time, I thoroughly enjoyed proving to them that I could comfortably use a welder and a grinder. A week later they offered me some work! Fast forward to 2019 and I have completed my apprenticeship with the same company in February.
You’ve achieved some great things at work and outside of work. Tell us more about them.
I’ve been part of establishing and running all-female welding classes at my local TAFE. I really enjoy teaching women how to use a welder and not be afraid to do it. I won three different awards at my TAFE in 2018 – the highlight was winning Apprentice of the year closely followed by winning Student of the year and Most outstanding as an apprentice. I was also nominated, and won, the TAFE excellence awards in Albury 2019. In June 2019, I was a finalist at the Women In Industry Awards in the category for “Rising Star” for my awards and assisting in the Ladies welding course at TAFE. I was really proud of the fact that I was able to purchase a car and unit, before the end of her apprenticeship through working in my trade. Since completing my apprenticeship, I have assisted in running the workshop, whether it be organising drawings or administration duties, and look after the work experience kids, and the 1st year apprentice. In a week I will be heading to Emerald QLD to help assemble a commercial jib of which i have been apart of making in the workshop.
Those are incredible accomplishments Emma. What’s your advice for women considering entering a trade?
Be positive, and make sure you enjoy what you’re doing, Don’t do it because you feel like you have to. If you want to do it you will enjoy it, and your job will be a hobby. If someone tells you you can’t do it but you believe you can, give it your all. If you cannot do the job or don’t like it, that’s okay, it just means you’ve found something you don’t want to do, so go looking for the next challenge.
You can listen to the rest of Emma’s story here- www.tradeswomenaustralia.com.au/podcasts.
Join Emma within the ranks of many accomplished role models and make a difference – register with Tradeswomen Australia today – https://tradeswomenaustralia.com.au