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Kirra works with rockets in dream come true

Engineering apprentice Kirra Balderston is shooting for the stars at Gilmour Space Technologies thanks to TAFE Queensland.

When Kirra Balderston became aware of TAFE Queensland’s Women in Welding program, she jumped at the chance to enrol.

On completion of that ‘taster’ offering, Kirra returned to TAFE Queensland to do a night-time intermediate welding program, and soon after, went on to complete the Certificate II in Engineering (MEM20413), accessing the State Government’s ‘Skilling Queenslanders for Work’ funding. It's safe to say her passion for fabrication has been ignited.

“I love hands-on work and keeping myself challenged, and this trade brings all that and more,” said Kirra.

Kirra has now accepted an apprenticeship with TAFE Queensland partner, Gilmour Space Technologies – a leading Australian space company based on the Gold Coast that is developing new capabilities for launching small satellites to orbit.

“My confidence and self-worth have grown immensely since starting my job at Gilmour Space Technologies and I couldn't be more thankful to TAFE Queensland teachers, and my employers, for helping me achieve this path,” she said.

As one of their first female apprentices, Kirra will study a Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication (MEM30319) at TAFE Queensland’s Trade Training Centre in Ashmore, where she will reunite with her supportive engineering educators.

“Doing what I love, I am still in shock I get to go to work every day and work on actual space venturing rockets!"

“I remember watching the first Final Destination movie when I was younger, and I idolised the ‘goth girl’ who was welding sculptures in her garage. And I just really wanted to do something that cool, plus I’ve always been a Star Trek space nerd, so it’s a win-win working with rockets,” reflected Kirra.

Outside of her new apprenticeship and work, Kirra loves adventures in nature, reading and building things – she finds value in making pieces that she can utilise in her day-to-day life. Another reason why Kirra finds this apprenticeship pathway as a fabricator “so much fun”.

“I had attempted for years to get into the mechanic/fabrication engineering trade, so the ‘Women in Welding’ program seemed like fate.

“And now, the accomplished feeling I get when I finish a project or get good at a skill I have been working on – nothing in the world beats it,” Kirra summarised.