A few months ago, on International Women’s Day, we introduced you to some of the women at Gregory Engineering. This included Shannara (at the time, our front-of-house salesperson), who, you may recall, was keen to start an apprenticeship with Gregory Engineering. Well, we have great news. Shannara is officially our first female engineering apprentice at Gregory Engineering.
So, we thought it was timely to reintroduce Shannara. In this article, she shares more about her background, what it feels like to be our first female engineering apprentice and her expectations and goals.
Our first female engineering apprentice:
Background & Inspiration:
Can you share a little about your background and what inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?
I was always into electronics and cars growing up. I went to university and tried several things, including making coffee, before I got the opportunity to work at Gregory Engineering, where I discovered a love for engineering.
Were there any role models or experiences that motivated you to join the engineering industry?
My grandfathers were very handy and could make just about anything they put their hands to. One designed and made a pot belly stove for the Marae; the other was very into wood turning. They passed on to me a love of working on and making things.
On being the first female engineering apprentice:
How does it feel to be the first female apprentice at Gregory Engineering?
It feels very cool and I know it’s a fantastic opportunity. I grew up in a family that didn’t abide by tradition. My mother has constantly been pushing boundaries and doing things that were not always seen as proper for a woman, so I was always taught that I could do or be anything.
Have you faced any unique challenges or opportunities being the first female apprentice, and how have you navigated them?
For the most part, everyone has been very supportive and is excited for me going into this. I think it helps that I am very good at showing people that I have what it takes to be in this position.
Expectations and Goals:
What are your expectations for this apprenticeship, and what specific skills or knowledge are you hoping to gain?
I expect this apprenticeship will, at times, be challenging. But I know I will succeed with the support of Pauline and Jason. At this stage, I want to learn all aspects of engineering.
What are your long-term career goals in engineering, and how does this apprenticeship align with them?
In the long term, I would like to pursue light fabrication, stainless steel and alloy welding and perhaps work my way up in the company to a leadership role in the future.
Breaking Stereotypes and Promoting Diversity:
What initiatives or changes would you like to see in the industry to encourage more women to pursue engineering?
I think it’s already happening; women have always been doing things they “shouldn’t”. Our history is full of women pushing boundaries and doing what they want to. A TV show currently shows an all-women construction team; I think we’re just not as showy about it as men; we would rather get stuck in and get the work done.
Encouragement for Aspiring Engineers:
What advice do you have for other young women aspiring to enter engineering or considering an apprenticeship?
Go for it! If you want to get into this industry or any trade for that matter, there is plenty of opportunity and space for us as women to grow and get into it, and if anyone gives you any flack for it, prove ’em wrong!
At Gregory Engineering, we are always looking for people with a great attitude and strong work ethic to join our team.
If you would like to join us as a trainee or an already skilled worker, find out more HERE.