Where are they now – Emma Stevenson: a role model for women in trades

In 2013 Emma Stevenson won the WA Apprentice of the Year. As a mature aged apprentice, Emma completed Certificate III Engineering – Electrical and Certificate IV Engineering – Instrumentation working with Chevron.

Emma Stevenson 4 (credit Challenger).

“It was very surreal to be winning an award for my training pathway. I think all apprentices doubt themselves a lot throughout their training, so it was great to have such recognition,” Emma said. “It’s really great to have apprenticeships celebrated in this way as it is a hard commitment to make and is often under-valued, even though it can lead to really interesting careers.”

For Emma, the way she was seen within her industry changed dramatically following her award win and provided her with a platform to encourage other women to get into trades and the mining industry.

“Winning the award opened up many opportunities for me to be an ambassador for apprenticeships and also for females in trades. I got to speak at schools, training forums and to training councils, as well as compete in the 2013 Australian Training Awards. These opportunities pushed me out of my comfort zone in terms of public speaking but it was invaluable for my professional development.”

In 2014 Emma was also awarded the CME Women in Mining ‘Outstanding Operator/Tradesperson of the Year’ and represented WA at the national Women in Mining Convention.

“I am also a volunteer with Trade Up Australia, a not-for-profit group supporting female tradespeople and encouraging young females to consider careers as tradespeople.”

Emma has now moved on from her role as an Electrical Instrumentation Technician and works as a Production Technician on the Wheatstone LNG project.

“The Wheatstone LNG Project is the largest scale project I have ever seen, it is exciting to be a part of and I wish everyone could see it. It is such a good project for WA in terms of providing jobs during construction and unique careers in resources when producing. I’m hoping it provides a pathway for apprentices and trainees for decades to come.”

Emma’s advice to young women looking at careers in mining and trades industries is to give it a go.

“Don’t be put off by the opinions of others in terms of your suitability, it takes all kinds of people to be a part of a successful team and you won’t know if you don’t try it for yourself. You will learn to adapt to challenges and often times the things that challenge you the most give you a chance to make improvements that benefit everyone.”

How to sell yourself in your WA Training Awards application

Just like writing a job application, the key to writing an application for the WA Training Awards is to sell yourself.

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Sometimes it can be hard to sell yourself in an application or an interview – you may feel like you are boasting about yourself. Don’t think of it as boasting – what you’re doing is providing the panel with the evidence they need to select you as a semi-finalist.

The most important thing you can do is talk about your skills, abilities and achievements in relation to the selection criteria and back it up with examples of when you’ve used those skills in your training and work.

Your written application is the deciding factor for whether you get an interview or not, so you need to ensure you’ve given the panel every reason to shortlist you.

Show don’t tell

Your application must include examples from your training and work. To really sell yourself, you need to show the panel through an example of when you’ve used those skills, don’t just tell them that you have the skills. If you’re not sure what examples to use, visit the Tools page on the WA Training Awards website and download the evidence guide for your category. Alternatively, brainstorm with your employer, lecturer, VET Coordinator or a colleague.

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What’s your message?

Be clear on what your message is. Why is your VET qualification and your career pathway important to you? What difference has it made in your life and therefore, what difference could a VET pathway make in anyone’s life? Once you are clear on this, weave your experiences around this message into your application.

For example, WA School-based Apprentice of the Year 2014 Taylor Wood wanted to show other school students that taking on a VET pathway isn’t a ‘second option’, that VET qualifications lead to rewarding careers just as tertiary pathways do. Taylor’s message was to encourage school students to pick a pathway that leads them to their dream career regardless of whether it was through VET or university.

WA Apprentice of the Year 2016 Brendan Carlson had been in the army for six years prior to starting his apprenticeship. For Brendan, it was his electrical apprenticeship that helped him to transition from military life back into civilian life. Brendan’s message was about the power of apprenticeships – how they can change your life and the opportunities apprenticeship pathways can provide for ex-Australian Defence Force personnel.

Understand the end goal

The judging panels are looking for ambassadors for the VET sector. People whose stories inspire others to follow in their footsteps. People who are passionate about what they do and know the value of the skills they’ve learnt to work in their field and have a successful career. When you apply for a WA Training Award, you are applying to be an ambassador, so show the panel why your knowledge, experience, journey and message sets a positive example for others.

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Selling yourself might not come naturally to you. For most people, it is not common place to self-promote and it would rarely be appropriate in any other social interaction. But when it comes to writing an application and preparing for an interview, put the time into considering your strengths and what sets you apart from others and ensure that is what you put into your application.

Applications for this year’s WA Training Awards close on Friday 5 May 2017. Sell yourself to our judging panels this year and submit your application today. Visit dtwd.wa.gov.au/trainingawards for further information.

Judges’ tips for writing an Award winning application

Putting together an application for this year’s Awards and need some advice? Who better to hear from than the panel members who’ll be assessing your application! Below are the top tips from last year’s individual and organisation judging panel members. Take these into consideration and your application could make the top of this year’s pile.

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TIPS FOR INDIVIDUAL APPLICANTS

What makes an application clearly stand out and easy for you to put in the shortlist pile?

“An applicant that has clearly answered all the questions and is very clear about how their training will help them in the future.” – Kristie Carlile, individual category judge 2016.

What’s your best tip for writing an application that will get shortlisted?

“Take your time and don’t rush the application, as that is the first thing the judges see which is a representation of you. So you want to make sure you have introduced yourself, your goals and your passion articulately.” – Olivia Ruston, individual category judge 2016.

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What should applicants include in their application?

“The training awards are about training and education so we would be looking to see how applicants came to study, why they chose the course they did and how they plan to use or make a difference with the training they have received.” – Kristie Carlile, individual category judge 2016.

What should you avoid putting in your application?

“Avoid mentioning experiences from other jobs and focus on your current apprenticeship or traineeship when answering each of the questions.” – Bethany Clarke, individual category judge 2016.

TIPS FOR ORGANISATION APPLICANTS

What makes an application clearly stand out and easy for you to put in the shortlist pile?

“Program/service outcomes need to be clearly defined – it can sometimes take a judge a few reads to determine how the program/service has improved over a period of time. It is also good to understand the success of the students post the program and see a comparison percentage of outcomes against state trends. So ensure quantitative data is provided to demonstrate outcomes, rather than elaborate generalised statements and present the information in a logical and well formatted manner.” – Anne Stannard, organisation category judge 2016

What’s your best tip for writing an application that will get shortlisted?

“I would suggest the applicant carefully analyses the question being asked and answers this in a methodical and clear manner, demonstrating their experience using the strongest examples relevant to the question.” – Rhonda Jamieson, organisation category judge 2016

What should applicants include in their application?

“When reading applications it is great to see a statement backed up with clear examples. Provide relevant evidence to support your statements. Be clear which award you are applying for and ensure your answers address the selection criteria.” – Rob Mitchell, organisation category judge 2016

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What should applicants avoid in writing their application?

“Avoid being vague or assuming the judges will know what the applicant is explaining. Clearly respond to the questions and demonstrate experience.” – Rhonda Jamieson, organisation category judge 2016

 

Applications close on Friday 5 May 2017. Put yourself or your organisation in the spotlight and submit yours today! dtwd.wa.gov.au/trainingawards