GREAT NEW CAREER: Sandy Austin got out of the hospitality industry to start a heavy commercial vehicle apprenticeship.
GREAT NEW CAREER: Sandy Austin got out of the hospitality industry to start a heavy commercial vehicle apprenticeship. Contributed

CAREER CHANGE: Sandy chases snow cat dreams

THE dream to one day work on Snow Cats in Aspen, Colorado, is propelling Gold Coaster Sandy Austin to make great things happen in her life with an apprenticeship at the City of Gold Coast.

After 20 years in the hospitality industry, Sandy decided to change her career after meeting job matching officer David Bott at TAFE Queensland Gold Coast, who recommended her for a heavy commercial vehicle apprenticeship.

After a one-day trial and practical interview, Sandy was awarded the apprenticeship opportunity as she displayed foresight to think through safety issues and was meticulous to the processes required for the job on offer.

In addition, Sandy was an excellent candidate and matched the city's Inclusion and Diversity Plan 2018 - 2020 initiatives for diversifying the workforce. This includes increasing the number of Indigenous people and females in non-traditional roles.

The evidence of the effectiveness of the Diversity and Inclusion initiatives is reflected in the city's current apprenticeship cohort across the various business units.

Sandy, who works at the main Carrara Depot workshop, said she clearly saw the advantages of gaining the apprenticeship that would one day fulfil her lifelong passion to work on the fully tracked truck-size vehicles in the snow.

"I realise that we don't have snow on the Gold Coast but I'm so very happy to have found this new career option,” she said.

"I have found working at the City of Gold Coast interesting because of the variety of equipment I have had the opportunity to work on - including trucks, plant, cars, and auto electrical equipment.

"I am happy when I'm maintaining and repairing heavy vehicles and mobile plant equipment in our beautiful weather too.”

Sandy, who started her first year apprenticeship in July, is one of eight apprentices, three of whom are women, under the watchful eye of Carrara Workshop supervisor Gavin Wheatley.

"Sandy's work day commences at 6.30am with a pre-start safety meeting, which alerts staff to any relevant work safety issues for the day,” Mr Wheatley said.

"She is buddied up with a qualified tradesperson to learn how to use general tools and specialised service tools to maintain and repair the City's vehicles.”

The City Fleet employs about 200 staff to manage and maintain more than 6700 assets in the three depots across the city's region.

For more details about an apprenticeship in heavy commercial automotive visit www.tafeqld.edu.au.

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