Lighting up the way
Jessica Meek has always wanted a career that would provide a challenge.
Becoming an electrician wasn't part of her original plan, but after winning an electrical scholarship in Cairns, she decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
Not long after this, she started her Australian Apprenticeship as an electrician.
Jessica excelled on and off the field.
In her final exam, she received the highest results of anyone in five years.
She was also the first woman at the Tropical North Institute of TAFE to complete Electrotechnology with an average of more than 90 per cent.
"I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be an electrician but my Australian Apprenticeship exposed me to a whole new world I did not know existed," Jessica said.
"I have found a new career, have developed confidence and many personal skills."
After doing so well in her training, Jessica has seen a lot of doors open for her - finding her niche performing quality assurance and general and specialised electrical work on Australian Defence Force naval vessels and within the construction industry.
"I have a new found respect amongst my friends and family, work colleagues and even new people I meet - it is really rewarding," she said.
Jessica does not plan to stop there.
She has worked as a health and safety, rehabilitation and training manager for one of the largest family owned electrical operations in North Queensland and has completed a Certificate IV in Occupational Health and Safety.
Now Jessica is self-employed and is undertaking a Diploma of Project Management.
"Becoming an Australian Apprentice is something I really encourage women to think about - no matter what age you are - give it a go, you will like the diversity it brings to your life," Jessica said.
Jessica was a finalist in the Australian Apprentice of the Year category at the 2011 Australian Training Awards.