Rise issue 13 cover

Women in power

Holly Murphy has always been mechanically-minded so when her Work and Income case manager suggested that she apply for a new apprenticeship for female line mechanics, she jumped at the chance.

Holly is one of three former Work and Income clients who are among the first female line mechanics to be recruited by Electrix Limited, an electrical and gas sector contractor.

As line mechanics Holly, Jody Tanner and Amba Steven install and maintain overhead and underground power lines on Transpower's transmission network.

They were employed through an Electricity Supply Industry Training Organisation (ESITO) apprenticeship which aimed to increase female participation in the sector. 

"ESITO put out a brochure seeking women who were interested in a career in the industry. Work and Income referred some clients who were interested.

"Their involvement turned out to be invaluable because three of the young women we employed all came to us through Work and Income," says Electrix Human Resources Coordinator Melony Lowe.

Selection for the role saw 19 hopefuls put through psychometric, knowledge and medical testing, with a shortlist of four making it to a field simulation.

"The testing was hard but I managed to make it through," says Holly. In fact, Holly did more than make it through the testing; she was placed in the top 95 per cent of all ESITO applicants this year.

"My dad is rather excited and keeps asking me about what I'm learning every day I go home," she jokes. 

Jody is also excited by the new job. "Everyone here has been amazing. Everyone has welcomed us and been really supportive."