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Ready and willing to get her hands dirty

It's becoming increasingly more common - women entering career areas that were once purely considered to be the domain of men.

It's becoming increasingly more common - women entering career areas that were once purely considered to be the domain of men.

Emily Hughes from the northern NSW town of Bundarra, is one of these women. The 21-year-old has just completed her training in civil construction and now has her sights set firmly on becoming a mechanic.

"I've always been interested in it and it's something I love doing," she told the Inverell Times.

Emily is a recent graduate of a new program specifically designed to engage the young and unemployed in rural communities. 'Crossing the Divide' is a collaborative arrangement between North Coast TAFE and the Careers Network and Emily is the first to admit she'd be "probably nowhere" if she hadn't enrolled with the program.

Emily's next challenge is to find an employer willing to take her on as an apprentice, something that can often be difficult in small rural communities. This is especially the case when it's a woman entering a traditionally male-dominated area, although Dru Beaton, coordinator of Crossing the Divide program, doesn't think Emily's gender will disadvantage her.

"We don't see gender, it's whoever turns up," he said. "So many girls just don't think they're able to do it. They certainly can, some of our best students have been girls. It doesn't really matter."