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South West TAFE female automotive apprentices shine

/ Success Story
TWO south-west women are taking on the male dominated automotive industry and excelling.
SWTAFE students apprenticing at a motor repair workshop

Keisha Brabham and Alana Knowles are in the first year of their automotive apprenticeships and have both taken out excellence awards at South West TAFE’s 2020 annual Trades Awards night.

Keisha admitted she had no idea about cars when she started her studies but was now confident in her abilities.

She said her interest in the automotive field was sparked when she travelled around Australia for six weeks and encountered many mechanical issues with cars.

Then during her Year 11 VCAL studies she completed work placement at Bill Storer Motors in Portland and was eventually offered an apprenticeship there.

“I just jumped at it. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

“I love coming in to TAFE too. It’s a great environment and they make it so easy to learn. I love getting my hands dirty and giving everything a go and we’re getting so much knowledge behind us which is great,” she said.

Keisha said she loved where she was headed right now but down the track furthering her studies in either diesel or marine mechanics was a possibility.

Keisha said any female thinking about taking on a male-dominated trade should just do it.

“I have had a few people misjudge me for the office worker but everyone has been so accepting and I knew nothing to begin with and I have so much knowledge and confidence now,” she said.

Alana agreed that she had also been accepted and welcomed into the automotive industry and encouraged other females to follow their passions.

“If there’s something you love you should just be yourself and give it a go – there’s nothing holding you back,” she said.

Alana said she had always been into cars and completed the pre-apprenticeship at South West TAFE first to see if she would like working in the field.

“I loved it and eventually got a job at Jax Tyres here in Warrnambool. They gave me a trial and were really happy with my work so they offered me an apprenticeship this year,” she said.

Alana said the skills she was learning could take her anywhere around the world.

“I love travelling and it’s great to know that I can help people on the side of the road. I’m learning such useful skills,” she said.