Apprentice mechanic breaking down gender stereotypes
Tegan Muirhead said fear had initially held her back from becoming a diesel mechanic, but the young Wagga Wagga City Council apprentice is now inspiring other women to take the risk and to help break down gender stereotypes across male-dominated industries.
Muirhead shared a message of encouragement to other budding tradies, following the 2019 Minister’s Awards for Women in Local Government presentation in Sydney in June.
The future mechanic said she was shocked when she heard of her nomination and even more so when it was revealed she had received a highly commended award in the Women in a Non-Traditional Role category for regional and rural areas.
Muirhead said she had always been covered in dirt and grease and fixing things with her dad on their family farm at Hillston.
“Dad, my younger sister and I did harvest between the three of us last season. We were harvesting the crop and fixing breakdowns and all that.”
The 25 year old said her experiences growing up had made her a jack of all trades.
After working in two jobs, Muirhead decided to take on further education.
“I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a mechanic at first, but one month in I knew it was for me.
“I was worried at first because I thought people wouldn’t be supportive - being little old me among all these blokes – but everyone I’ve met has gotten behind me and barracked for me to finish this.
“That’s what I’m going to do.”
To other young woman considering a career in a male-dominated field, Muirheads advice is, ‘take the plunge’.
Wagga Wagga City Council General Manager, Peter Thompson, and Member for Wagga Wagga, Dr Joe McGirr, applauded Muirhead.
“In her role, Tegan is able to get hands on experience by helping maintain around 2000 items of plant and equipment at the Alan Turner Depot,” Thompson said.
“I would like to commend Tegan for her efforts and dedication to her apprenticeship.
“At Council, we encourage women to consider non-traditional roles and to pursue their passion. Our Workplace Diversity Strategy promotes diversity and inclusiveness, builds respect and recognises the true potential of all our employees.”
Dr McGirr said, “It’s inspiring to see the fantastic influence young women like Tegan are having on future generations across our electorate.
“They’re breaking down barriers and defying age old gender norms and conquering traditionally male dominated industries.
He commended councils, as well as the NSW Minister for Local Government, for supporting initiatives that foster, build-up and recognise women, taking on leadership roles and making an impact in their communities.