Having grown up around trucks and motorbikes, dirt bike racer Belinda Fonda is kicking goals as she embarks on a four-year dual trade apprenticeship as a diesel technician and auto electrician.
Fonda’s passion for engines started early on. She got into dirt bikes at around 11 and more recently has been competing in the Women’s Seniors category in local club events on the back of her Honda CRF 150 cc two-wheeler.
“A couple of years ago, I got into dirt bike racing after attending a ‘come and try’ day on International Women’s Day at the Broadford track. I met a few women there who like me were keen on racing.”
She’s taken that passion and is now pursuing it as a career. Having begun as a light engine apprentice, working on motorcycles, Fonda has now moved to something much bigger – and we mean that literally.
Now you’ll find her working at the Scania branch at Campbellfield in Melbourne, adjoining Scania’s Dealer Support Centre.
“I’m learning my way around the wires. The diesel hardware is straightforward, but the wiring is new,” said Fonda, who is just few weeks into her apprenticeship.
Despite it being early days, Fonda says she is fitting in quickly.
“We were straight onto the tools and getting into it. There are a few other apprentices, and there’s a good atmosphere. I’m looking forward to learning a lot about Scania’s technology.
“There’s a good structure in the way Scania looks after and encourages its apprentices, starting with the basics, and I already feel like I have learned a lot,” she said.
Eventually, once she is fully qualified, Fonda’s goal is to work on trucks in the mines.
As today is International Women’s Day, Scania is celebrating the success stories of its female team members. “Scania is very keen to welcome more females to our business across all of our activities from technicians to customer-facing roles,” said Scania’s people and culture director Michele Gellatly.
At Scania Australia, women comprise 16.5 per cent of the workforce. The company notes that there has been growth in the number of women it is seeing moving into roles such as technician, apprentice technician, and joining the parts and warehouse teams.
Though Scania has good representation of women in senior management roles, the company says there is always more to be done.
“We have been successful attracting women into the workshop over many years. As a multinational company we strive for a greater gender balance across our activities,” added Gellatly.