Louise Azzopardi competing in the WorldSkills international competition.
Louise Azzopardi competing in the WorldSkills international competition.

Transport training is a perfect career for Louise

Louise Azzopard started her career in the heavy vehicle industry as a mechanic, but when she started teaching apprentices under her it was when she knew that was what she wanted to do.

"I remember one time [when I was at] Cummins they had a deaf apprentice, Carl, and I taught him how to do a bearing roll on a cabover Kenworth," she said.

"So we were laying underneath the truck on cardboard and I was showing and pointing to what to do.

"We had a texta and were writing on the cardboard to talk to each other. It took a while but I taught him to do a bearing roll under a truck without talking to him.

"That was an amazing feeling to be able to do something like that."

Louise said she loved being able to train the younger apprentices - in the morning they'd start working with her and then come the afternoon they'd know how to do it.

The 24-year-old from Newcastle currently works for WesTrac and is a trainer and assessor who teaches heavy vehicle and plant mechanics to apprentices ad trade students.

She started her apprenticeship as a heavy vehicle mechanic at 15 after growing up on a farm where her parents grew tomatoes.

"I had always been helping with the farmwork and fixing machinery, riding motorbikes and stuff. Anything that needed maintenance we did it ourselves and that sparked my interest to be a mechanic."

After finishing her apprenticeship at Cummins in Wetherill Park, she worked for a small business servicing small trucks and farm machinery before taking a chance on a government funded mentoring program that led to her current training position.

She said being a woman didn't hinder her trying to find a job (although it did with some of her friends) but once she did she found challenges.

"I'd grown up doing it and knew I was strong enoughbut it's mostly just forms of harassment now," she said.

"Its comments that get under your skin - one of the petty and irritating things is that people are surprised that I can do it. "Of course I can do it, I was trained to do it."

Louise's best piece of advice for others who wanted to jump into the transport industry was go for it. "Put your mind to it, it will for sure be hard, especially with the long hours apprentices do, and some of the work isn't that pleasant.

"But once you learn how to do the unpleasant things you can do them much faster or you don't have to at all.

"Nothing will be perfect but as long as you enjoy it and are passionate you'll make it work."

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