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North Canterbury electricity infrastructure company, MainPower, recently held an event aimed at getting young women into hands-on roles in the electricity industry.
The ‘Girls with Hi-Vis’ open day, held at the MainPower head office in Rangiora last week, was part of a nationwide initiative. Attendees were offered information about roles in the industry; talks from women already in the industry and a chance to participate in a practical exercise making extension cords.
The event attracted participants from High Schools in North Canterbury and Christchurch, as well as several students enrolled in pre-trade electrical courses at the Ara Institute and the Southern Institute of Technology.
Shian Lyall and Catherine Parkinson from Avonside Girls High School said that taking a tour of MainPower’s workshop and trying the practical exercise were the highlights of the day, “making the extension cords took a bit of problem solving. It was a bit fiddly and tricky at first but we got the hang of it.”
For many participants the opportunity to network with others looking to enter or already working in the industry was the biggest drawcard. Participant Lisa Stickley is currently enrolled in a pre-trade course at Ara, “It’s been great hearing from other women working in the industry, especially those who didn’t necessarily know where their training would take them when they started out. I’m in a similar position, so it was useful to hear their experience and how they got to where they are now.”
MainPower Trainee Cable Jointer Ellie Pugh attended the 2016 Girls with Hi-Vis event as a guest and is now almost a year into her apprenticeship at MainPower. Speaking at the event Pugh, 18, encouraged the participants to give the industry a go. “It’s a great career path. Most days are different, you get the chance to earn while you learn and you end up with qualifications that you can take all over the world”.
If you'd like to find out more about these events and careers for women in the infrastructure industries click here.