Ringwood, Australia, April 23, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- Paula Elstrek has earned the right to the respect her class of electrotechnology Pre-apprentices show her. And although she only comes up to apprentice Andrew Bucknall's top button, when she explains how to put a circuit together, he takes careful note.
Ms Elstrek has been working with her hands since she was 16 and still drives and pulls apart fast cars and bikes. But she was looking for more in a career. She wanted something that would open up a whole variety of opportunities and electrotechnology offered huge options.
"I started my apprenticeship at Box Hill Hospital," explains Ms Elstrek, "and that gave me a huge variety of work.” It gave her experience with all sorts of electrical work and while it was creatively challenging and interesting, the pleasure she gained from teaching as an advanced driving instructor provided her with an added element of enjoyment. "At the end of the day I had the satisfaction of knowing I had made a difference to someone's life," she explains. "That's pretty special." So she has now combined her two passions: teaching and electrotechnology.
It's fortunate Ms Elstrek has always been courageous because on day two of her start at the new MEGT Trade Skills Centre, she was responsible for a class of 18 electrotechnology Pre-apprentices - all young men starting their careers.
Ms Elstrek believes the challenges she faces at the new Centre lie mainly with her own propensity to be a control freak, not with being female in a male dominated trade.
"If you treat people equally and with respect and do not tell lies and you are confident, I find you do not have an issue.
"Over the years there have been a couple of people who have not liked having a female boss. But I could not care less if someone is male or female so long as they do the job well. I don't believe in quotas. If you can do the job, you earn the right to be there. While I would be proud to have a class of both men and women, I would rather have a group of students who are interested and have a passion for electrotechnology as I do."
The full Certificate III Electrotechnology apprenticeships course will be launched on 27 April by the Hon Peter Hall, Victorian Minister for Higher Education and Skills and Minister responsible for the Teaching Profession and Mr Mike Symon, Federal Member of Parliament for Deakin. It will be a double celebration for MEGT, which is also in its 30th year this year.