Twenty-three-year-old electrical apprentice Rachael Douglas from RTL Trades has been awarded both Outstanding Apprentice of Year and Electrical Apprentice of the Year at the third annual TAFE Queensland – SkillsTech Apprentice Awards.
Rachael said she was honoured to have her skills and hard work recognised by the awards.
“I’m on cloud nine, to be honest, I’m pretty chuffed. It’s been a wonderful night and I’ve been able to meet so many incredible people,” Rachael said.
“To be awarded is such a pat on the back and a reassurance that I am doing the right thing. I hope to one day be able to mentor and help others on their journey. That’s pretty exciting.”
“We definitely need more women in trades and if I can be a part of helping women feel empowered enough to do that for themselves that is something I would love,” she said.
Rachael was nominated by her previous manager, Phil Ballard from Not Just Electrical who said Rachael started in the trade with a passion and a drive to learn.
“Rachael's personal life and health had thrown many obstacles in her way during the first two years of her apprenticeship which absorbed great amounts of time and energy. Despite these resistances, Rachael would always be at work on time, keen and interested every day,” Mr Ballard said.
Rachael brings to the workplace the right mix of attitude, mindfulness, persistence, and forward-thinking toward her tasks,” he said.
“We often discuss Rachael's research on topics such as new inventions, world energy, and fuel consumptions, and brainstorm ideas of how we could save the world by creating ways to reduce waste and increase the efficiency of machinery, transportation, and workflow,” Mr Ballard said.
Rachael is passionate about pursuing a career in the sustainable energy field and is also studying a business management degree part-time. In what little time she has left Rachael also volunteers at The Pyjama Foundation, a charity that matches passionate community volunteers to mentor children in care across Australia.
“The program is called Love of Learning and entails working with children in the foster care system who are in placement. I go over once a week and work with them in a relaxed environment just trying to promote learning,” Rachael said.
“It involves playing games and I’ve even bought a little electricity experiment game which I hope will just spark a bit of interest in learning. It’s easy enough to go over once a week to help and maybe make a difference,” she said.