Why one woman followed her father’s footsteps into a trade

September 5, 2023
women in trade

Ever since she was little, Amy Hunt had looked up to her dad and big brother. So when 

she started feeling uninspired by her sales job and knew she needed a change of direction – she looked once again to her two favorite role models.

“I grew up being a massive daddy’s girl and always wanted to be just like my brother in everything he did, whether that be at the skatepark or on the sporting field. 

“My dad and brother are both tradespeople, and so, as I always did, I followed in their footsteps and decided to do an apprenticeship at Western Power.”

The right tools for the job

At first, Amy was unsure what area she wanted to specialize in, but the job security, full training, further opportunities, and competitive apprentice salary offered by Western Power all appealed and gave her confidence in the transition.

“I didn’t know much about the industry; I just knew I wanted to be on the tools. When I got an interview, I remember frantically googling what cable jointing was – I had no idea! Funny to think how things have changed.” 

Amy’s apprenticeship combined classroom-based learning and practical hands-on training with lots of on-the-job experience. Amy says all the apprentices were “really well looked after and received great-quality teaching.”

women in trade

“Over the four years, I learnt a lot, from basic tool skills to being able to safely work on energized LV cables and apparatus. It’s been a really positive experience and I’ve made so many friends and contacts along the way.”

More than just technical skills

Amy was just nineteen when she joined Western Power, and unfortunately had to face some difficult personal challenges from the very beginning. At the start of the apprenticeship program, her mother was diagnosed with cancer, and the week before her final trade test in her final year, her dad suffered a stroke. As a young person, Amy says she struggled at times to deal with everything she was going through, but that Western Power did everything they could to help. 

“My parents’ health conditions came at tricky points in my apprenticeship – and my life. Western Power were really good in supporting me, giving me the push to keep on going, despite what was happening at home. They were flexible with my training, and patient with me on the hard days. The crews I worked with in the field also helped me through some of those dark days. I felt lucky to be so supported by my employer.” 

Even when things got tough, Amy never gave up, and her dedication and persistence were rewarded when she won 2022 Western Power Apprentice of the Year.

“The award is something I am still very proud of today and is a reflection of how hard I worked over the four years.”

The apprenticeship taught Amy the skills she needs to have a fulfilling career in her trade – but she says it taught her so much more too:

“I’ve learnt that I am far more resilient than I thought I was. I was able to overcome so many challenges throughout my training and worked hard even when giving up seemed easier. I think it’s fair to say that I’ve learnt far more than just technical knowledge and skills because of my training!”

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What can you bring to the job?

Amy previously worked in sales and, although starting from a salesperson position is perhaps an unusual route into a trade apprenticeship, she encourages everyone to look at the transferable skills they already have when thinking about changing jobs. 

One such skill that has proved invaluable is being a team player: 

“All our work gets done in teams, so it’s so important to be able to work well together. I love working in a team to get the job done.” 

Perhaps a more surprising skill that Amy brings over directly from sales is good communication skills: 

“In sales, you need the ability to talk – and as a cable jointer, we rely heavily on communication. Our work has the potential to be very dangerous and if people don’t talk and communicate that’s when things can go wrong.” 

So, wherever you are starting from, think about what you can already bring to the role – even if you’re not 100% certain about your next steps, with an apprenticeship you can learn the new skills you need along the way. 

“You get out what you put in!”

Four years may seem like a long time, but Amy says “doing something different every day, working outdoors, the cool people, and in-the-field experience” means the time really does fly by. She also says any extra effort you are prepared to put in will make all the difference to your experience:

A photo of Amy Hunt

“Everyone will tell you how fast time will go throughout your apprenticeship; it might not feel like it some days, but it definitely does. What you put into your training is what you will get out, and if you work hard, it will pay off. Talk to the experienced people in your trade, learn from their stories, and make the most of every opportunity that is thrown your way.” 

What’s next for Amy?

Having completed her apprenticeship, Amy is now “very happy” to have accepted a full-time position at Western Power! Looking back over her journey, she is so pleased she took a chance and followed in the path of her dad and brother.

“When I first joined Western Power, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and I didn’t even know what cable jointing was! But I love working here, the people are very welcoming and inclusive, and I feel lucky to be able to do what I do every day – I am very glad this is how it worked out.” 

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About the Author

Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

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