Career News, Careers & Training

Record female enrolment in heavy automotive course

TAFE NSW in Wetherill Park has reported record female enrolments in its heavy automotive courses, helping to meet the region’s growing needs in this field.

Diesel mechanics have been on the skills priority list for the past three years, with the June 2023 report showing the estimated vacancy fill rate was particularly low for occupations in automotive trades.

This comes at a time when the transport, postal and warehousing industry in Western Sydney has grown by 10,000 workers in the past 12 months, with an 80 per cent male workforce.

At TAFE NSW Wetherill Park, the semester one cohort enrolled in Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology includes 10 women – one of the highest ever female enrolments at the campus.

Peta is the first female employee at the Complete Sweep workshop. Image: TAFE NSW

Peta Patrice is among those students. She’s a first-year apprentice mechanic working at Complete Sweep.

Patrice has had previous experience with heavy vehicles, but wanted to achieve her accreditation, so began her apprenticeship at TAFE NSW.

“I have always loved the hands-on nature of working with vehicles. Completing this apprenticeship at TAFE NSW is an opportunity for me to turn a passion into a career,” Patrice said.

“It will mean I can work in an industry I’m interested in, where there is plenty of work, and I can earn a good income, and stay living locally.

“Being a woman in a male dominated industry can be daunting, but my teachers at TAFE NSW are incredibly supportive and encouraging, as is my employer.”

Workshop manager Corey Brownlow at Complete Sweep says Patrice is proving to be a promising employee, who is eager to learn and demonstrates initiative.

“Heavy vehicles can be complex to work with and you need to have the right attitude. Peta has already shown she has the desire to learn and build her skills, which is what we look for in this industry,” Brownlow said.

“Peta is the first female employee we’ve had in the workshop. We’ve had several women operating our vehicles, but it’s great to have Peta here behind the scenes.

“Being an apprentice is the best way to accelerate a career in automotive and provides a real pathway to more senior positions. There’s strong demand for skilled heavy vehicle workers across western Sydney, so it’s great to have TAFE NSW delivering the courses locally.”

TAFE NSW heavy vehicle teacher Tuliana Morell is the first female to hold the role at TAFE NSW Wetherill Park and said it’s an exciting time for women joining the industry.

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