TAFE NSW Newcastle student, Kayla Crow is thriving in her field while studying an Advanced Diploma of Engineering
TAFE NSW Newcastle student, Kayla Crow is completing an Advanced Diploma of Engineering (Mechanical) at an accelerated rate, proving her prowess as the only female in her cohort.
On top of her studies, Kayla spends her work week 45km north-east of Mudgee at the Ulan Coal Mine Complex, three hours from her home. Now in her third year of her role in the typically male-dominated field, her success comes as engineering skills are in high demand, with job vacancies across Australia reaching a 10-year high.
"I always knew I wanted to do something hands on, and mining stood out to me. I completed a plant engineering apprenticeship right after high school, “Kayla said.
“For me, it was the perfect way to get my foot in the door. Studying at TAFE NSW helped me build confidence, and when I doubted myself, my teachers encouraged me to take my skills to the next level.”
While working towards a Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology, Kayla completed an apprenticeship with Glencore Australia, and has since been promoted to a Trainee Mechanical Engineer.
“I was lucky to have supportive mentors during my apprenticeship. They knew I was interested in engineering and helped me move into a new position to start a traineeship,” said Kayla.
Kayla said Karen Humphreys, TAFE NSW Head Teacher Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering was a key influence in her decision to continue studying while building work experience.
"On top of the usual challenges of studying and working, it can be intimidating to challenge a norm. Having a female teacher who has gone through similar experiences as me has been invaluable. She's been a great mentor and has encouraged me to believe in myself and my abilities,” says Kayla.
Karen Humphreys, TAFE NSW Head Teacher Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering said with the state’s manufacturing and construction sector booming, there is an enormous employment opportunity for graduates.
"It’s a great time to be upskilling in this space with plenty of career prospects for graduates. The demand for skilled workers has been exacerbated by pandemic border closures,” said Ms Humphreys.
“Increasing the number of women in trades and engineering is absolutely necessary. It's critical that we are getting the right people into the right jobs, regardless of gender.
“Women bring a unique perspective to engineering. Their diverse experiences and problem-solving skills enable them to approach challenges with creativity and innovation, making them valuable contributors to any engineering team," Ms Humphreys said.
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 Engineers Australia