Entering her mid-thirties, Anja had hit a career roadblock. Intensely bored with her office job, Anja wanted to pursue a career that matched her passion for sustainability and the environment. Taking the plunge a few short years ago, Anja bravely stepped away from her indoor life and commenced an apprenticeship in Bush Regeneration. This entailed completing a Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management with ECOllaboration, a for-purpose organisation providing conservation and land management services in Queensland.
Anja stated, “Bush regeneration means a lot to me as we are rebuilding our bushland for our wildlife. As a volunteer wildlife carer looking after vulnerable adult possums, conserving our bushland is important.
“Thanks to my supervisor at ECOllaboration and my training organisation who provided me the opportunity, I could step into this career, even though I’m a relative newcomer to Australia and a bit older”.
In 2021, Anja was recognised as a finalist in the Queensland Training Awards, having applied so she could show others that you can change your career no matter what age group or position you are in life. Since completing her apprenticeship Anja now plans on continuing her learning and undertaking a Diploma in Conservation and Land Management.
Reflecting on what it is like working in an industry that is traditionally male-dominated, Anja believes her industry is changing.
“In the last three months our organisation has taken on more women (it is now 50/50) and there are also a lot more women here in supervisory roles.
“I think we’ve shown we can do exactly the same amount of work as men and aren’t afraid of the physical aspect either. Personally, I love to work with a brushcutter and an Auder. It’s hard work but I think women have proven we are equal to men in applying ourselves”.
Anja has this advice for young women entering a male-dominated industry:
“Don’t be afraid to take the chance, go out there, show your passion! You can do anything you put your mind to, just believe in yourself”.
Need more inspiration?
Here’s a list of other trail-blazing female apprentices studying and/or working in male dominated industries who were recognised or received a Queensland Training Award:
- Lauren Campbell, an apprentice electrician undertaking a Certificate III in Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration, was the State Winner of the Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year QLD.
- Bonnie Anderson, an apprentice electrician undertaking a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician was a finalist for the Apprentice of the Year for North QLD.
- Abi Winter, an apprentice mechanic undertaking a Certificate III in Engineering was a regional finalist for the Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year North QLD.
- Jaime Wiseman, an apprentice electrician undertaking a Certificate III in Electrotechnology was a regional finalist for the School Based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year for North QLD.
- Casey Hewitt, an apprentice Picture Framer, undertaking a Certificate III in Picture Framing, was a State Finalist for the Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year QLD.
- Abigail Cuddihy, trainee engineer undertaking a Certificate III in Engineering – Technical, was a state finalist for the Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year QLD.
- Ashleigh Tomlinson, trainee Fitness Instructor, undertaking a Certificate III in Sport and Recreation, was a State Finalist for the Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year QLD.
- Kasey Hardy, undertaking a Certificate III in Work Health and Safety, was the State Winner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year for QLD.
- Bree Connell, apprentice Barber undertaking a Certificate III in Barbering, was the State Winner for School-Based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year.
- Mary Chol, trainee Fitness Instructor, undertaking a Certificate III in Fitness was the State Winner for Equity VET Student of the Year.
Anja Siebers, a finalist in 2021 Queensland Training Awards ‘Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year Award’ has completed her qualification and continues working as a Bush Regenerator for ECOllaboration. (Photo from ECOllaboration)
If you are a trail-blazing woman that has entered a non-traditional trade, we’d love to hear your thoughts about your career path – let us know about your experience in the comments section or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you are a woman about to enter a non-traditional trade, BUSY Sisters can provide government-funded mentoring support and a community of like-minded women, to ensure you thrive in your new career.