Aspiring mature-age apprentice

Tristen Wingard, 27, is a full forward in the High Wycombe Bulldogs in the Perth Football League’s Construction Training Fund Women’s League.

She works FIFO in the goldfields via an agency working as a “utility” in the kitchen, laundry, housekeeping and mine site, cleaning at Silver Lake Resources’ Randalls Mill.

But she still dreams about training as a sparky.

At school, she chose the vocational, work-ready pathway but even in 2011 when she finished Year 12 she felt having a trade “was pretty much impossible for me, especially as a women if it was being a sparky or anything in construction”. And she did not want to be a hairdresser.

It was only later she realised she could do an electrical apprenticeship. It’s something she’s reconsidering now.

Tristen says she’s always been fascinated by currents and the way electricity works and the fact that no two days would be the same when working as an electrician really appeals to her.

“Working in FIFO being able to get a job in the mining industry, even though it’s in utilities, it’s a good start,” she says. “Then I noticed a lot more women are doing the things I never thought you could do, like driving trucks.”

Tristen says most of the people working on mine sites already had trade certificates and she knows she’d have to give up her mine-site work to become an apprentice – while a daunting prospect she knows the freedom it will give her long term is worth it.

“I chose to work my way up through mining, starting from the bottom where I am, cleaning toilets, but I always wanted to be a sparky, to be a sparky definitely, but I would need to work more to save to do that,” she says.

When Tristen is ready to make the transition to a mature-age electrical apprentice Construction Training Fund will be there to support her and her employer along their journey with grants and guidance.

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Construction Training Fund acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land throughout Western Australia and pay our respect to the Elders both past and present. We thank them for their ongoing custodianship of the lands and waters, and celebrate their rich culture of art, song, dance, language, and stories.