Plenty of work skills but even more self-development

“I started as a shy seventeen year old from Kangaroo Island who didn’t know much. I came out the other end as young adult who knew twice as much than if I hadn't done an Australian Apprenticeship.”

That’s the way Jessica (Jess) Wooley sums it up, brushing over the fact that she was chosen from 700 applicants for her apprenticeship in Certificate III in Electrotechnology (Electrician) with SA Power Networks, and that she has since gone on to justify her selection, winning numerous awards during her apprenticeship.

Now fully qualified, Jess’ work involves big, high voltage, industrial equipment, where she turns the power off and then goes to work on that equipment. She’ll test circuit breakers or sample oil, often from a boom lift. Once she’s finished, she turns back on 130,000 plus volts of power and heads home in the ‘work vehicle’ she hauls her equipment around in, which she needs a truck driver licence to drive.

From her shy beginnings, Jess gained confidence during her apprenticeship, assisted by a pragmatic attitude to working in a male-dominated area.

“You do need to be a bit thick-skinned but don’t take things personally – people usually just aren’t thinking.”

‘Things are changing fast, with more women working across lots of roles.”

Jess is proud of an efficiency improvement she designed that has been integrated into her company’s quality system.

Awarded best fourth year apprentice in SA Power Networks, in 2015 she represented the company at an event in Hong Kong.

Already a team leader, Jess sees herself doing further management training and perhaps some project management in the future.

“I can’t say enough about the life skills I’ve gained through my apprenticeship in addition to work skills. If you’re willing to try new things, it’s a great way to build a strong career.”

In 2015 Jess won South Australia’s Apprentice of the Year title, was an Australian Training Awards finalist and was appointed an Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador for the Australian Government.

Watch, real skills for real careers case study: Jess Wooley.

If you are interested in an Australian Apprenticeship and how to get started, download An Australian Apprenticeship - Endless Career Possibilities brochure or contact your local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.

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