It seems Water Corporation apprentice Electrician Chloe Fahey was destined to work in a trade.
With her parents working in trade professions in Broome, she grew up observing and hearing about manual labour-related work and was keen to get involved when she could.
Fahey had diverse exposure to various trade opportunities, both at home and school. Her dad was a panel beater and spray painter and then completed a heavy-diesel mechanic apprenticeship later in life, and her mum worked on boats.
At school she developed a greater interest in marine and maritime studies which enabled her to gain her skipper’s ticket. She also studied building and construction where she learnt the foundations of bricklaying and completed a Certificate III in Agriculture while at school.
Fahey made the decision to become an electrician after a one-week work placement with the Water Corporation in year 12. Soon after the placement, a position for an apprentice Electrician became available and she was encouraged to apply, which she did and got the job.
Work on the road
Being in a regional town, the role often includes travel as she also services other local areas. Fahey says this is one of her favourite parts of the job.
“[I like] seeing different communities and getting to meet the locals. Sometimes when we travel, we go fishing after work and fun stuff like that,” she says.
A typical day for Fahey can vary.
“It all depends on what happens during the night. Two of the electricians are on call, if anything happens at night they will go out and attend to jobs. If not, we come in the morning at 6.30am and have a morning meeting and discuss any safety issues or hazards, go through what everyone is doing for the day,” she says.
“We have a look at a program on our computers called SCADA, which overlooks all of our assets, such as sewer pump stations, water treatment stations and bores and check everything is fine on there, through all of radio. Then we go out to our jobs for the day.”
She also travels to Perth for training when required, which usually occurs in two-week blocks and is organised by her employer.
Take the leap
To women who are thinking about doing a trade apprenticeship, Fahey says there is no reason to be anxious and there is lots of support available.
“Don’t be scared, try to be confident and put yourself out there, have conversations with everyone. Don’t be shy and don’t hide away,” she says.
“Other people can sense you if you stand back. Ask questions if you’re unsure, try your hardest and get support if you need it in the workplace or outside.”
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.