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Peta Gets Into Gear

Peta Patrice is a first-year Heavy Vehicle student completing her apprenticeship with Complete Sweep in the Hawkesbury region. The Richmond local is one of 10 women enrolled at TAFE NSW Wetherill Park in Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology – one of the highest ever female enrolments at the campus.

Diesel Motor Mechanics have been on the Skills Priority List for the past three years, with the June 2023 report finding the estimated vacancy fill rate was particularly low for occupations in Automotive Trades.

It is a growing industry in Western Sydney, with Labour Market data showing the region’s Transport, Postal and Warehousing industry grew by 10,000 workers in the past year, with an 80 per cent male workforce.

Peta had previous experience with heavy vehicles, but wanted to achieve her accreditation, and so began her apprenticeship at TAFE NSW.

She says she has always been drawn to the practical skills needed in mechanics.

“I have always loved the hands-on nature of working with vehicles. Completing this apprenticeship at TAFE NSW is an opportunity for me to turn a passion into a career,” she said. “It will mean I can work in an industry I’m interested in, where there is plenty of work, and can earn a good income, and stay living locally.

“Being a woman in a male dominated industry can be daunting, but my teachers at TAFE NSW are incredibly supportive and encouraging, as is my employer.”

Tafe Peta Heavy Mechanical Engineer Peta 11 Peta Gets Into Gear

Workshop manager Corey Brownlow at Complete Sweep says Peta is proving to be a promising employee, eager to learn and demonstrating initiative.

“Heavy vehicles can be complex to work with and you need to have the right attitude. Peta has already shown she has the desire to learn and build her skills, which is what we look for in this industry,” Corey said.

“Peta is the first female employee we’ve had in the workshop. We’ve had several women operating our vehicles, but it’s great to have Peta here behind the scenes.

“Being an apprentice is the best way to accelerate a career in automotive and provides a real pathway to more senior positions. There’s strong demand for skilled heavy vehicle workers across western Sydney, so it’s great to have TAFE NSW delivering the courses locally.”

TAFE NSW Heavy Vehicle Teacher Tuliana Morell is the first female to hold the role at TAFE NSW Wetherill Park and said it’s an exciting time for women joining the industry.

“I’ve never worked with another female heavy vehicle mechanic, but the industry is starting to see more women enter the workforce, and I get to be part of it by imparting my knowledge to a generation of young women – it’s a very rewarding job,” Tuliana said.

“TAFE NSW Wetherill Park is the largest delivery point of automotive training in Australia and we’re providing leading industry-relevant training, so all students gain the skills they need to thrive in the automotive industry.”

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