Queensland Training Awards finalist and past CQUniversity TAFE student Jessy Edwards has encouraged other young women to consider becoming a 'tradie'.
Jessy's comments came after she was a finalist in the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year category of the State Final of the Queensland Training Awards' held in Brisbane on 17 September.
Although she didn't win at the State Final' the proud Warrwa woman' was honoured to win the Central Queensland Regional Final in July – and be the inspiration for other female tradies.
"People – especially young women – should consider a trade as it opens so many different pathways. It's an awesome experience and does not limit you in any way'" she said.
"A trade is very fulfilling' and we need more women in trades and I am always strongly advocating for that."
Jessy was recognised in the Queensland Training Awards for her efforts while studying a Certificate III in Engineering-Mechanical Trade at CQU TAFE in Gladstone' as part of her then apprenticeship with Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL). She now works for Aurizon.
Although taking on a trade wasn't Jessy's initial study path – she originally began study at CQU in accident forensics.
"I decided to complete a trade as the university degree I was studying wasn't hands on enough for me. Online learning became difficult' and I wanted a more real-life experience. I started to research trades and became more and more interested in that career path and decided to apply'" she said.
"I finished my apprenticeship at QAL in June of 2022. While at QAL I moved to a different section of the plant every three months and worked on a variety of mechanical equipment. I rebuilt pumps' turbines' worked in the machine shop' worked on heavy drive equipment' washers and settlers. When I finished my trade' I worked in the whiteside pump crew for six months before l left to go to Aurizon."
She said she was proud to have been recognised in the awards.
"Winning the regional final was not something I was expecting so that was an amazing feeling. To be recognised for something of that level made me feel as though all my hard work and efforts had really paid off'" she said.
"But it's also a representation of just how good the training from CQU and QAL trade staff I received was. Being a state finalist was an even better feeling. To be on stage with some of the best is truly exciting.
"The training I received was great. I had teachers who were extremely knowledgeable and were always able and willing to help in the way of learning.
"I believe the training I received at CQU aided in my win at the regional finals as it really prepared me for the judging aspect of the awards' due to having such a wide range of knowledge about different mechanical equipment but also safety as well.
"CQU have an amazing trade facility in Gladstone and I don't doubt in other areas as well' but I would recommend CQU for training as they are always prepared to go that bit extra for their students. Their training packages are up to date and they will always answer any questions you have.
"Completing an apprenticeship is the best decision I ever made and I am hoping to complete more training in the future; hopefully another trade as I loved my first one so much' and I want to upskill even further."