Deakin Soroptimist International, Ivanhoe Branch, has awarded Melbourne Polytechnic student Jane Trotta (28) with the 2021 Tools for Trade Scholarship.
Recognised for her commitment to learning and tenacity in a predominantly male trade, Jane’s teachers nominated her as an exceptional role model to all students.
“It’s incredibly flattering to be chosen out of the cohort and be awarded this scholarship. As a female in engineering, it’s amazing to be recognised in this way and be able to put the award money toward further improving my skills,” said Jane.
The 2021 Tools for Trade Scholarship was presented on the evening of Monday, 12 July 2021, during an awards ceremony at the Ivanhoe Library. It amounts to $500, enabling its recipient to purchase a tool to support their practical studies. Jane plans to purchase a multi-process welder to continue mastering her welding techniques.
Jane has dipped her toes in a number of industries, transitioning from archaeology to construction to engineering. She explains how this journey has led to her finding her calling as a welder.
“While working in project management for a civil construction company, I found it fascinating watching the welders on-site.”
“From my background in archaeology, I knew I loved hands-on work. Project management was more people-focused, lacking the type of creativity I thrived on.”
“I wanted to do something different with my life, so I thought ‘why not give welding a shot?’”
Jane took the leap and enrolled in Melbourne Polytechnic’s Certificate III in Engineering – Heavy Fabrication, a course that equips students with the essential knowledge and skills to pursue a career in the metal fabrication industry.
“Starting the course, I felt behind the eight ball, with many of my classmates already having a few years of on-the-job experience. I was starting from scratch, so I had to be committed to bring myself up to speed.”
“My biggest challenges were developing my motor skills to accommodate the physicality of the trade and also building up my confidence.”
“Pursuing welding has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself.”
“I started working in a sheet metal factory last October. At the time, an apprenticeship wasn’t on offer, but, after my probation review and demonstrating my work ethic, my employer encouraged me to begin my apprenticeship.”
Jane commenced her studies in January 2021, and will continue her apprenticeship for three years.
As a woman in a male-dominated trade, Jane shares that the males around her in the classroom and workplace have often been supportive.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with males that have taken me under their wing to ensure I’m not hassled or dealing with anything confronting in the workplace. My advice for women wanting to pursue a career in trades is to just go for it and not be held back if it’s something you’re really interested in.”
Lead Teacher of Engineering at Melbourne Polytechnic, Anthony Puhalak, said the scholarship will be beneficial for Jane to further develop her skill set.
“Purchasing a tool to practice with will ensure she is fully equipped to improve her welding techniques,” Mr Puhalak said.
“Scholarships like Tools for Trade from Deakin Soroptimist International are fundamental in empowering students to put their learning into practice and providing them the resources they need to become highly skilled in their field.”
Jane is an example for individuals considering a career change that it’s not too late to tackle a trade, especially for women thinking of pursuing male-dominated industries.