Amy's accelerating her career
At 14, Amy Smith started gaining hands-on experience in an automotive workshop to pursue her goal of becoming a mechanic.
For 19-year-old Amy, being under the hood of a car forms some of her earliest memories.
"My dad's a boilermaker and from a young age I remember helping him over in the shed with making trays and I'd help him service all the family cars. I just loved getting in and around everything."
Amy's passion for cars drove her to seek out work experience in Year 9.
"Doing work experience showed me all the different types of jobs that mechanics get to do. After spending probably four weeks doing work experience, I knew I wanted a career in the automotive industry."
Amy completed a school-based apprenticeship alongside her senior high school studies, before signing up for an apprenticeship after Year 12.
"The whole apprenticeship is pretty fun. Being an apprentice is very interesting. You get a lot of hands-on help at the start and then they slowly, gradually wean you away so you learn how to do things by yourself."
Amy attends block training at TAFE Queensland's Townsville (Trade Training Centre Bohle) campus, which is a one hour and 40 minute drive away from her home in Charters Towers. Amy's studying a Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology (AUR30616) for free, accessing free apprenticeships for under 25s funding.
"Being able to access free training is very beneficial to me. Instead of spending money on course fees, I can buy new tools and pay off my car. Also, living in Charters Towers and coming to Townsville for training means I have money to spend on accommodation, food and fuel, so it's very helpful."
Amy's dedication to her training earned her a TAFE Queensland Townsville Trade Excellence Female Trades Student of the Year Award.
"The thing that I love most about being a mechanic is you get new jobs every day. You get the opportunity to get a car, diagnose it, fix it and give it back to the customer."
"Five years from now, I'll be qualified as an automotive mechanic. Then I want to gain auto electrician skills and do a bit of training in heavy vehicles. Then probably in 10 years, I want to have my own mobile business."
Amy hopes more women consider an automotive career, with females making up just one per cent of the motor mechanic workforce in Australia.
"My advice for someone considering a trade career is to not let anything hold you back. I've felt like I'm very well respected, no one's ever underestimated me. I would suggest going to work experience first, just in case you don't think this is for you and you want to try something else. And never give up. If there is a hurdle in your way, there's always a way to get past it."
Watch Amy's story