In Conversation: Apprentice of the Year Amy Hunt forges a new path

Amy Hunt is a cable jointer at Western Power who has emerged from a challenging apprenticeship journey with national and state award recognitions and a renewed energy championing a career in trade.

Inspired by her father, a panel beater, and her brother, a sign writer, it’s no surprise that Amy has also developed a passion in trade. Her interest, coupled with a previous unfulfilled work experience, drove her to start looking for a different career option. She jumped at her first opportunity by taking up an apprenticeship in the power industry. Not only was she learning so much about various tool skills and workplace safety, but perseverance was another lesson that gave her the strength to keep pushing beyond what she thought possible.

Throughout her four-year apprenticeship with Western Power, Amy faced some difficult personal challenges while trying to make the most of her training. Her parents underwent battles with their respective health issues when she first started her apprenticeship. With the support of her family, friends and her employer, she managed to complete a Certificate III in ESI – Power Systems – Distribution Cable Jointing with Power Training Services, Western Power’s registered training organisation. The apprenticeship had unlocked an opportunity for a full-time trade career in the power industry.

Despite all the obstacles, Amy’s integrity and resilience has earned her the 2022 Western Power Apprentice of the Year accolade, followed by the WA Apprentice of the Year award at the 2023 WA Training Awards and Apprentice of the Year award at the 2023 Australian Training Awards.

We caught up with Amy to learn more about her personal journey, why apprenticeship is a great learning pathway and what’s next for her.

Apprentice of the Year Amy Hunt (right) at the 2023 WA Training Awards presentation ceremony.
Amy Hunt (right) awarded Apprentice of the Year at the WA Training Awards 2023. (Photo: courtesy of the Department of Training and Workforce Development)

Tell us about your role as a cable jointer at Western Power.

As a cable jointer at Western Power, I am responsible for jointing and terminating underground low and high voltage cables. I work on a range of equipment of various sizes, types and ages on the network. Working under a section specialising in new electrical assets installation, our work connects customers to a reliable and safe electricity network. I am also responsible for organising materials and resources for different projects including crews and contractors on site, along with administrative tasks and paperwork post-project completion.

With your father and brother have establishing a career in trade, how did you first become interested in the power industry?

I stumbled across the power industry by chance! I used to work in an office-based role (which I didn’t enjoy), and so I was looking for change and began applying for multiple apprenticeships in various industries. Eventually I received a phone call for an interview, and I remember I researched frantically about cable jointing ahead of the interview and the rest was history!

I have learnt so much throughout the apprenticeship and I continue to learn more every day in my job. My experience working on low and high-voltage electrical cables have opened my eyes to the implicit value of safety; both on an individual level and within a team.

What were some of the challenges you had faced as an apprentice and a women in trade? And how did you overcome them?

I faced various challenges including my personal and family life. At the start of my apprenticeship my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer, and throughout my training my dad suffered a major heart attack and stroke. These situations would have been testing at the best of times, and they were not a good mix when it came to my learning and training. It was a stressful time, but looking on the bright side, it was through this experience that led me towards reaching my potential. Having said that, it was also the support of family and friends as well as Western Power that gave me the strength to overcome these challenges.

On the workplace level, while I feel supported most of the time, I have also encountered people thinking and treating me differently for being a young female in this industry. I often felt like I had to go above and beyond to prove my ability to perform in this role. I overcame these by trying my best to put my best foot forward every day. I also connected with other women in trades and other trade professionals.

How did you get involved with Apprenticeship Support Australia (ASA)? In what ways did your four-year apprenticeship help shape your career journey?

I was first introduced to ASA and the resources available for apprentices when I was a first-year apprentice. After completing my apprenticeship, ASA mentor Georgie Mitchell reached out and invited me to continue to get involved with the apprenticeship community, sharing my experience and journey with other women in trade.

My apprenticeship taught me a lot of skills, and that’s not limited to the technical side, it also helped me understand the importance of perseverance and leadership skills. My training had afforded me the opportunity to cultivate these skills, which has been pivotal to my personal development and gave me a head start in my career.

What does receiving the Apprentice of the Year award mean to you? What do you put your success down to?

Apprentice of the Year Amy Hunt (middle) along with other WA Training Awards recipients.
Amy Hunt (middle) along with other award winners at the WA Training Awards 2023. (Photo: courtesy of the  Department of Training and Workforce Development)

It means the world to me and my family! With the challenges my family and I have had to face over the last four years, it was a great full-circle moment for all of us. I am very proud of the achievement, and I think it is a great reflection of the hard work and dedication I put in over the last four years.

I think I would put my success down to the support I have had along the journey. I don’t think I would have even finished my apprenticeship if it wasn’t for the support of my family, friends and partner. They deserve as much recognition as I do.

What are some of the unique opportunities apprenticeships offer?

Apprenticeships offer a lot more than just trade experiences. They offer the potential to work anywhere, at any time, in so many different situations. With Australia currently in a skilled trade workforce shortage, my apprenticeship has opened the door of boundless possibilities and a meaningful career.

What’s your advice for someone who’s interested in an apprenticeship?

Take the first step. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. Taking on an apprenticeship is one of the best decisions I have ever made. The good days definitely outweigh the bad and the skills and network you develop along the way will last for a lifetime.

Do you have a particular goal you hope to achieve this/next year?

For the next year, I hope to continue to work at my trade and further strengthen my leadership skills. I hope next year I can be an ambassador to encourage people to undertake VET training and apprenticeships.

Powered by CCIWA, Apprenticeship Support Australia (ASA), can facilitate employment, manage training and offer support and advice to companies seeking apprentices to boost their workforce. Contact ASA at [email protected] or phone 1300 363 831. 

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