Females in Automotive Break the Mould of the Tradie Stereotype


GOTAFE Automotive Department at Wangaratta has seen an influx of female automotive students in 2014, with eight females enrolled in the Certificate III Paint and Panel.

GOTAFE Team Leader Automotive, Mark Ward said the influx of female students is a welcome change from having male dominated classes and he believes it is the start of a bigger trend across traditional trades.

“The eight female apprentices who are enrolled in automotive are diligent workers, good all round students and the quality of work they produce is fantastic,” said Mark.

“Females in traditional trades is a trend that is becoming more and more popular; financial incentives for areas with skills shortages, advances in technology and a shift in attitudes have broadened the openings for females across traditional trades.

“They like the physicality of the work, the comradery between other students and for many of them the best part of being in a trade is being able to say ‘I created that’ at end of a project, whether they have re-painted a damaged vehicle or created a custom paint design to the owners specifications, there is great satisfaction gained from being able to create something with your own hands.

“And the money can be good too, a fully qualified apprentice could earn anything up to $40 an hour and there are a lot of incentives for apprentices in automotive as well as specific financial incentives for females in trades.”

Women and girls looking for a career that offers flexibility, portability, solid financial prospects and the opportunity to learn skills that will last a lifetime, should explore the benefits of learning a trade and getting their qualifications through GOTAFE.

Mark went on to say that GOTAFE offer a number of a pre-apprenticeships, saying these Certificate II level courses offer an ideal stepping stone into an apprenticeship and employment.

“We have a number of automotive pre-apprenticeships including general automotive, air conditioning, electrical and engineering, and also in other trades like glass and glazing,” said Mark.

“A pre-apprenticeship gives students job ready skills meaning they can walk straight into an apprenticeship and quite often their skills are far more advanced than someone straight from high school, additionally employers recognise a pre-apprenticeship as a good indicator of the high skill level they have come to expect.

“In 2015 we are offering Certificate II in Automotive (pre-apprenticeship) for the first time in Wodonga which will take place at Wodonga Secondary School.”

For more information on automotive courses at GOTAFE please visitGOTAFE Automotive or for information on financial incentives available to apprentices and females in trades please visit Women-in-Trades

GOTAFE Students Take Out Two of the Six State Wards


Six individuals were honored at the 2014 Victorian Training Awards, two of those students were GOTAFE students Miranda Borlini and Caitlin Maher.

Miranda was announced the Victorian Koorie Student of the Year and Caitlin Maher, won the Victorian School-based Apprentice of the Year.

Miranda is the Director of the Lulla’s Children and Family Centre in Shepparton, with its aim to provide Aboriginal children with the opportunity to reach their potential through access to the highest quality care and education. Year 12 Assumption College student, Caitlin is completing her Certificate III in Aged Care with GOTAFE and works part-time at an aged care facility whilst completing her schooling.

Caitlin and Miranda were both excited and a little surprised by the initial nomination so taking out the Victorian title was a huge surprise, especially for Miranda.

“I was totally overwhelmed, it is a great feeling to be recognised at this level of achievement,” said Miranda.

“At the award ceremony, each finalist was presented with a cheque for $500 and a framed certificate, then the winner was announced and I was asked to make my way back on stage to accept a cheque for $10,000 from Nick Wakeling who asked me a few questions.

“When he asked why I had chosen early childhood and what I intend to do with the cheque, my response came easily as I think a career in early childhood is really rewarding and I hope to use the cheque to support the resource kit I have created.”

Both students credit their employers and GOTAFE with their individual successes, Miranda going on to say she credits her studies at GOTAFE for a recent initiative she implemented.

“Through my Diploma studies I realised we lacked early childhood resources, so I developed a local kit that includes a cd with songs all sung in the local language, my wish is that every childcare centre in Victoria would have this kit,” she said.

Both Miranda and Caitlin went on to compete at the Australian Competition held in Adelaide on Friday November 21, 2014.

The Victorian Training Awards, now in their 60th year, promote and reward outstanding achievement and innovation in vocational education and training. For more information visit Victorian Training Awards

Billy Narrowly Missed Out on Gold at World Skills Competition


Fourth year spray painting apprentice Billy Cowcher was awarded a silver medal at the National World Skills Competition held in Perth from 19 to 21 September.

The 21 year-old GOTAFE apprentice and employee at Woollards Auto Body Works in Shepparton won gold at the state level World Skills competition earlier this year making him eligible to compete at the National level competition and only came second by 1.5 points.

GOTAFE Team Leader for Automotive, Mark Ward has been the driving force behind Billy entering competitions and is especially proud of his achievements.

“As a trainer and a mentor I am extremely proud of Billy, he narrowly missed out on taking home the gold, only coming second by one and a half points,” said Mark.

“Billy was awesome to see in action, the competition can get really stressful, the students are asked to do a lot under really tight time constraints, he handled the pressure exceptionally well and the results show that.

“He was required to match a pre-tinted colour supplied by the organisers and had to paint three panels, a bonnet and two front guards.

“He also had to mask out a design to specific to the organisers measurements, this year it was lightning bolts running down the side of the bonnet, he did a terrific job.

“I was lucky enough to be able to attend the competition with Billy and there is lots of organising involved in getting students to this level but seeing Billy compete on a nationals stage and do so well makes it all worthwhile.”

Billy said that the opportunity to attend would not have been possible without the support of GOTAFE and his employer, Woollards Auto Body Works in Shepparton.

“GOTAFE has always given me that little extra push I needed to enter competitions, especially Wardy (GOTAFE Team Leader for Automotive, Mark Ward) who has always helped me to get where I needed to go,” said Billy.

“Mark has gotten me most of my sponsors, making it possible for me to travel to Perth to compete at the National World Skills competition.

“It feels great to be able to take home the silver medal, not only for me but for me employer who has been so supportive, generous and flexible with my work to enable me to practice and prepare for the competition.”

The 2014 WorldSkills Australia National Competition was held at Perth’s Convention and Exhibition Centre between the 18th and 20th of September. The three day event showcased the skills of 500 of Australia’s best trainees, apprentices and students who competed for the prestigious title of ‘Nation’s Best’ in over 50 skill and trade areas. For more information visit WorldSkills Australia