Tradeswomen Australia interviewed Vimbai who works as an Overhead Apprentice at Yarra Trams in Melbourne.  Yarra Trams is one of the biggest tram networks in the world and is a Melbourne icon.

TWA: When did you realise you were interested in taking up a trade?

V: I realised I was interested in taking up a trade through my application process into the Australia Defence Force. During it I discovered how diverse the electrical industry was and the opportunities that I’d have.

TWA: When you first decided to do a trades apprenticeship did you receive support from people around you?

V: I first decided to undergo a trades apprenticeship in my gap year of university. I received a lot of support in my pre-apprenticeship program from my classmates and teachers. At first my parents were sceptical, as I was the first in my family to choose to go into the trades industry.

As I progressed with my apprenticeship, my parents soon came around and were supportive of my decision because they saw how much I enjoyed every step of my journey.

TWA: Before you got your apprenticeship did you do any work experience?

No, I didn’t but I did a general pre-apprenticeship to gain insight into the electrical industry and its diversity.

TWA: Did you consider any other career options?

V: After high school I enrolled at university to do a double degree of criminology and psychology but realised it wasn’t my style at all.

TWA: Thinking of your time at school, did anyone mention working in trades as a good career option for you or any other girls or women?

V: In high school a lot of the trades talk was aimed at the males. As a woman I didn’t feel as if that was something that I could get into as it was not a cultural norm. 

TWA: Tell us about your career so far and what you have enjoyed the most about working in trades.

V: I have loved every step of my journey into becoming a tradeswomen. I have come across a lot of challenges but also have overcome each and every single one of them and achieving a lot more than I thought I was capable of.  

I am proud of how much I have progressed in only a year.  I have become a qualified rigger and dogman – amongst other things. What I have enjoyed the most has been using my skills in problem solving in a practical way on site and in the classroom.