CHELSEA Pope has entered the male dominated field of engineering and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
“As a female a lot of people tell you there are jobs you can’t do but it’s about finding the confidence to do what you want,” she said.
Chelsea grew up on a dairy farm at Colac and after finishing school worked in various jobs including the supermarket, bars, cleaning and at a petrol station.
“Growing up on a dairy farm meant there were always things to be fixed and built, the odd welding lesson and plenty of access to all sorts of tools and materials,” she said.
Chelsea then got a job initially in reception and then in spare parts at National Food which is where she found her passion.
She went on to work at Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory in spare parts before gaining an apprenticeship at Fonterra in Cobden.
“I’m now a maintenance fitter and turner and I do anything from working on the lathe to reconditioning gearboxes.
“I love every minute of it – sometimes I have to pinch myself. It doesn’t feel real,” she said.
Chelsea said the best part of her job was the variety.
“I’ve always loved fixing and making things and in my spare time I’m an artist where I work with rusty metals to make sculptures,” she said.
Chelsea has won South West TAFE apprentice awards in Certificate III in Mechanical Engineering for the past two years and said being a female in a male dominated field had never been an issue.
“The guys at work and at TAFE have all been really good. I just fit in.
“More females should have a crack at what they want to do and not care what anyone thinks,” she said.