Gemma Hartwig (Certificate III in Mechanical Engineering (Diesel Fitter), QLD

I’m Gemma Hartwig. I’m a diesel fitter
for Diesel Care in Dalby, and I did
a school-based apprenticeship. I wasn’t really keen on school. I was one of those kids
that just wanted to get school over and done with. I did some careers counselling
and did an exam, and mechanics came up,
and I’d never really thought of that, but I was always working on the farm
with Grandad, and so I did a week
of work experience as a diesel fitter and absolutely loved it. And I’ve been doing it ever since. I’d work a week in my workplace
doing my school-based apprenticeship and then would go to school
for three or four weeks, so having that week away a month and doing something hands-on
and practical and learning that way
was really beneficial for me, and kept me interested
in school as well. I learnt a lot of leadership skills
in my first year, which led to me being able
to get college captain in Year 12, a lot of communication skills, being able to communicate properly
with adults when I was only a teenager, and teamwork skills, being able
to work in a team at work to finish a job, and then being able to work in a team
at school with other peers my age. Just the support from family
and friends was really important, and the support from teachers, understanding that I wasn’t going
to be at school for that week because I was completing
my school-based apprenticeship, and that was really important to me. And they all really understood
what I needed. So doing
a school-based apprenticeship is the real reason
I finished Grade 12. It made my high school years
a lot easier on me. A lot of kids are really stressed out because they don’t know
what they’re doing, and I had that comfort knowing
that I had a job once I finished. As a female working
in a male-dominated area, I was one girl
working with a bunch of guys, and that has given me the opportunity
to make a difference. And from that I’m starting
my own business called She Can. And it’s really there
just to support women, giving them advice and support, because I think if there was
something like that for me when I was doing my apprenticeship, it really would have
made that difference.