STEPPING into a male-dominated industry, Gemma Hartwig knew it would not be easy, but she also knew being a diesel fitter was the right job for her.
Even though she said she had to work three times harder to prove herself, Ms Hartwig, 20, is now a qualified diesel fitter and was even named Queensland Apprentice of the Year at the Queensland Training Awards.
"I just grew up working with my grandad and my great grandad and my uncle in the shed.
"So I was always running around passing them tools and helping out.
"So it felt quite natural to take that career path," she said.
The Dalby local even considered hairdressing, but quickly discovered sweeping hair off the floor was not for her and qualified with a certificate three in mechanical engineering in diesel fitting through Tafe in 2016.
"I did consider hairdressing and leaving school. I hated school. Thankfully doing a school-based apprenticeship is what kept me there and I fell in love with the trade of diesel fitting," she said.
Ms Hartwig, who was also named Queensland School-Based Apprentice of the Year in 2014, is now preparing for the national awards on November 23 in Canberra.
She also wants to encourage other young women to take a chance in whatever career path they want, despite the stereotypes.
"Realistically trades like being an electrician or a carpenter or a diesel fitter like myself, they are female-friendly and once we do have more women in the industry I think a lot more young girls are going to realise that when choosing a career," she said.
"If you have a real passion for what you are doing and you are dedicated and you can persevere through the hardships, the rewards you will reap will be fantastic and it's worth it in the end."
Currentlyin Toowoomba, Ms Hartwig will also take her skills international, relocating to Canada for at least a year in January.
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