Lisa - NZ Apprenticeships

Lisa didn’t know what she wanted to do when she left school. She was a bit of tomboy and played lots of sport. Although Lisa was a good student, she couldn’t see herself gainfully employed in the subjects she liked. It wasn’t until she met a female electrician in the town she lived in, and thought what she did was really cool, that Lisa became interested in a trade.

Lisa told her parents she wanted to be an electrician and her Dad secured her a part time job with a local company pulling cables and wiring plugs. While still at school, she applied to do a taster course with infrastructure Industry Training Organisation, Connexis, formerly ESITO. The course provided an insight into the trade roles she could apply for within the electricity supply industry. Lisa believes the course also helped her application for an apprenticeship to be accepted.

Lisa is now a qualified electrician with a Level 5 Power Technician qualification. She currently works as Protection Technician Team Leader at ABB Limited in Hamilton. She tests, installs and commissions protection equipment for high voltage sub stations. This work involves using large test equipment and analysis on a laptop. She tests to ensure correct operation will occur under fault conditions, and that equipment is in good operational condition. This is to safeguard personal and substation equipment during unexpected conditions. Lisa enjoys it as it is interesting, practical and analytical work.

As there are very few females entering the trade compared to men; they are often surprised to see a woman doing the job. Lisa feels that you have to prove yourself a lot more as a female and work harder to get what you want. However, she also sees this as an advantage as it makes her try harder and succeed a lot more.

Lisa’s advice to someone starting out in the industry would be to make it happen if you really want it. She understands that sometimes it’s tough and it seems like you really aren’t getting anywhere. But, make sure you have a clear line between work life and home life, and a thick skin when you walk through the door to work. If people doubt you, use it as a motivator to push yourself.

The best thing about her job is feeling like she has made the career she wants. Success is a huge confidence booster. She couldn’t think of doing anything else - work is never the same and always a challenge, making the effort so worth it.

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