Louise is a Trainer and Assessor with WesTrac, one of the largest Cat equipment dealers in the world. She is a qualified heavy vehicle mechanic, won the 2017 Australian WorldSkills competition (and can we mention the only woman in her category!!) and went on to compete for Australia in the International WorldSkills comp. Louise is a wonderful ambassador for women in trades and actively promotes women in non traditional industries in a range of activities, such as speaking to school children about their career options and being involved with speaking panels and conferences. We have seen Louise grow so much both personally and professionally over the last 3 years and we are so proud of her achievements, and we have loved having her as one of our 2019 she wear ambassadors.
We often hear stories from women about trying to fit in and acting and looking “less feminine”. So many women have said how miserable they felt, however once they started to have the confidence to be themselves on site, their careers and skill set skyrocketed. Louise has written a blog for us about her experiences as outlined below. We have also previously profiled Louise in one of our “celebrating women” interviews in early 2018. You can read that story here.
As told by Louise :
“Just over 3 years ago I met Stacey (the wonderful founder of she wear) and I was in a very different mindset to what I am today. We met at the first SALT tradeswomen conference after I had just resigned from my first proper job, where I had spent the last 4 and half years and had completed my apprenticeship. I was in a time of change.
While I was completing my apprenticeship as a heavy vehicle mechanic I had adjusted my personality to fit in. I had become used to hiding anything girly about myself, liking pink and wearing makeup, I was used to my clothes not fitting right and feeling awkward in pretty much every social situation because I felt I was too different to fit in. I still remember sitting in my car in tears after a few rough months wondering if I was ever going to feel like I was in the right spot for me.
After meeting over 100 Tradeswomen at the SALT conference I realised I wasn’t so different, I wasn’t strange, and I wasn’t so alone. I worked up the courage that day to talk to Stacey and ask if she would like to sponsor me as I competed at the National WorldSkills competition as the first female to ever compete in the category. Over the next few weeks we worked out an arrangement and I had had my first pair of correctly fitting pink boots which I rocked as I won the Heavy Vehicle Maintence National competition.
Going into that competition I was still doubting my worth, I felt like I was behind my peers in knowledge and skill and that maybe I wasn’t quite right for my job. I still remember sitting in my car in tears after a few rough months wondering if I had made the right choice in job. Coming out with the gold medal showed me that I wasn’t behind and that I was defiantly right where I needed to be.
Since that time I have received a medallion of excellence in the international WorldSkills comp, judged at a national WorldSkills competition, run a regional competition, volunteered at an international competition and I am now currently part of planning the next national Heavy Vehicle Competition. I spent some time being a field service mechanic and now have transitioned to being a full time trade teacher passing on the skills and knowledge that I have learnt.
Now when I put on my hi-vis it fits and most of the time I wear a sparkly bow in my hair because why not, I like it! I have the confidence to share my story to hope to inspire other women to push themselves out of there. I am still pushing myself out of my comfort zone every day. Over the last few years I’ve become better at public speaker and really enjoy speaking and inspiring groups of different ages, mostly recently a group of year 6 kids (11-12-year-olds)!
I push myself to continue learning so I can give my students the best experience that I can and to keep improving as a trainer. I am not perfect and that is okay, I will make mistakes but that is what I need to do to learn, if I just stick at what feels comfortable and safe I will stop moving forward.”