Newest Aurizon diesel mechanic fitting apprentice Brooke Reece and her mentor Mick Ryan work on replacing pistons in cylinders of a train. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer
Newest Aurizon diesel mechanic fitting apprentice Brooke Reece and her mentor Mick Ryan work on replacing pistons in cylinders of a train. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer Mike Richards GLA270515APPR

Apprentices get careers running on right track

BROOKE Reece was chomping at the bit to pull on her steel-cap boots and rip into day one of her mechanical fitting dream.

She was one of eight apprentices, six of whom are females, that were selected for the three electrical and five mechanic positions at Aurizon.

Brooke, 17, said she put in the hard yards to secure the four-year apprenticeship.

>> Aurizon pushes 30% females before 2019

"I did eight weeks of work experience last year and I made sure I tried hard," she said.

"When I got the call it was the best feeling and I started crying.

"There are hardly any apprenticeships going in Gladstone so I'm lucky I got one."

Brooke's role will be repairing and servicing locomotives of trains.

"There is so much more to trains than people think and it's amazing how they work," she said.

"I get to replace pistons and mini packs and make sure I don't lose any bolts.

"You have to be switched on."

Her first day yesterday was extra special, a career her grandmother also started as a young woman in 1966.

She worked at Brisbane's Central Station and then on the Queensland Rail cart in Gladstone for a number of years.

"My grandma loved the trains and it was her very first job," she said.

"There weren't many women in the workplace back then but she was accepted."

Brooke's mother and sister were also inspirations for her to pursue a career in a hands-on industry.

"My sister is a third-year electrician and she showed me that women can be in men's workplaces," she said.

"My mum was also a role model to us, raising us on a 450-acre property in Iveragh.

"We had quad bikes, two goats and two alpacas."

The former Technical College of Gladstone student said she's always been a tomboy, so applying for a job in a trade came naturally to her.

"I am looking forward to getting real dirty and showing people that you actually do something with your hands."

"It's cool to be able to fix something and make it run better."

Brooke said her ultimate aim was to finish her apprenticeship and work in supervising.

Sharna Nice, 19, from Ambrose was equally as keen on her first day as a mechanical fitter.

"I had trouble sleeping last night because I was excited," she laughed."



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