Cessnock sparky lighting an inspirational path for other women

Cessnock’s Sarah Pringle has found the spark she needed to build a successful career in a male-dominated electrical industry.

Ms Pringle, 20, is studying a Certificate III in Electrotechnology at Hunter Trade College and has secured a job as a first-year apprentice electrician at UGL, based in Broadmeadow.

With females accounting for just two per cent of electricians in Australia, according to Australian Government statistics, Ms Pringle is encouraging other females to consider the trade.

"I love tinkering and fixing things, and I was always a hands-on learner at school, so it made sense for me to consider a trade,” she said.

"There is a lot of problem-solving in electrical and I really enjoy that aspect of my apprenticeship.”

Although Ms Pringle says that being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field still has some challenges, she is proud to be blazing a trail for other women who share her passion.

“My dad, who I look up to immensely, is also an electrician so I knew I was going into a male- dominated industry,” Ms Pringle said.

“He has supported me through the process and given me an insight into some of the potential challenges I may face.

“I encountered some barriers with a previous employer, but since moving to UGL, I’ve had a really wonderful experience and my workmates are a great source of support and encouragement. 

“I think the key is finding the right workplace with an inclusive culture and a supportive environment.”

Ms Pringle signed up for her apprenticeship through VERTO, a not-for-profit organisation supporting businesses and individuals with all their apprenticeship, employment and training needs.

She is part of a growing cohort of people choosing to work and study simultaneously as part of an apprenticeship pathway.

According to research conducted by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), apprentice and trainee commencements grew nationally to 47,785 (or by 114.0%) in the June quarter 2021 compared to the same quarter in 2020.

VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell said demand for electricians is surging in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns, with multiple construction and infrastructure projects in the pipeline.

“It’s a great time to be entering a trade. There are some fantastic apprenticeship opportunities available right now, offering a gateway to a fulfilling career that really can take you anywhere,” Mr Maxwell said.

“We want to encourage more women like Sarah to follow their passions into a trade career. If you are considering your options, reach out to VERTO. We’re here to help you find the right apprenticeship opportunity for you.”

For more information, phone VERTO on 1300 4 VERTO (1300 483 786) or visit www.verto.org.au.