Many Australian companies offer apprenticeships to help them recruit and train the next generation of industry professionals; however, choosing the right apprenticeship with the right company can be a trying task. Elena, a Gas Apprentice at the Zinfra Greystanes depot in NSW, has not only found herself in a career she wants to pursue, but also in an inclusive workplace environment.
Zinfra’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship Program is committed to providing a range of job rotations to enhance on-the-job learning, along with mentoring and effective training partnerships with quality training providers. Furthermore, Zinfra has developed a range of career pathway options to assist its apprentices in planning and developing for their future.
The Gas Apprenticeship Program in particular is an opportunity for apprentices to gain valuable hands-on skills for a long-term career in the gas sector.
Despite the sector being known as male-dominated, the Gas Apprenticeship is well suited to women and involves no heavy machine operating or lifting. For Elena, who is in her final year of the apprenticeship, it was the opportunity for a rewarding career that sparked her interest.
“I was looking at a few apprenticeships. I came from my previous job really after something more career-based, as my last job wasn’t, so Zinfra really stood out,” she said.
After applying for the Gas Apprenticeship as her first choice, Elena said she felt privileged to be selected for such a great learning opportunity.
“There’s so much I’ve enjoyed,” Elena said.
“Being exposed to all the different parts of the company and getting trained. We do a lot of rotation, so we do get an insight into different sections of the company, with higher pressures, a little bit more exposure. That’s been a highlight for me.”
According to Elena, one of Zinfra’s greatest assets is its approach to equality in the workplace. With this apprenticeship often pursued by males, she said that having female apprentices on board who are equally capable and equally treated is important to see.
“Being a female in the industry, coming into it I was a bit nervous as I guess the infrastructure and construction sectors can be very male-dominated. However, once I started, I was made to feel welcome and treated equally and fairly, not only by management but also by all of the field staff and the guys,” Elena highlighted.
“We are just as capable of doing the same work as men – we have no problem getting our hands dirty and getting on the tools. It doesn’t have to be a bloke’s kind of job, women can do the exact same work if trained correctly and if willing to do it.”
For those considering the Gas Apprenticeship Program with Zinfra, Elena’s advice is simple.
“Give it a go,” she said.
“Everyone treats you fairly no matter your gender, and I would encourage other women to consider a career in the gas industry.
“Zinfra is a great place to work – my supervisors are very supportive and there is plenty of personal development and training on offer.”
With her apprenticeship almost complete, and her training giving her a new appreciation for how the company works as a whole, Elena is excited to discover what her future looks like within Zinfra.
“The apprenticeship program is helping me do that, as I’m getting exposure not only to all the different divisions of the company, but also getting a nationally recognised qualification,” she said.
“Becoming a fully qualified Gas Services Technician is starting the process of fulfilling my long term goals of progressing through the company. It’s a win/win.”