Naomi Bourke, Horan & Bird, Winner of the Legrand Apprentice of the Year 2018
Tell us a bit about yourself: I’m Naomi Bourke, I’m originally from a small town located in the Burdekin region about an hour south of Townsville called Home Hill. Upon completion of year 12 I attained a Cert 3 in Lab skills and was working as a lab technician, this kept my hands active but I found that I was starting to getting a little bored of each day being the same. It was due to this that I began looking into apprenticeships and ended up deciding that ultimately being an Electrician was what I wanted to do with my career. As a result, I started my apprenticeship 3 years after finishing school and have only just recently completed my training and been signed off. If I had to give some advice to young people interested in a trade I would say; If you’re unsure of getting a trade, go out and trial it by doing some unpaid work experience as it is a great way to get a better understanding of the trade and what it entails – it also looks great on your resume when applying for jobs. Ultimately though, if you want something you’ve got to be willing to put in the hard yards and work for it, it won’t just come to you. Get yourself out there and grab what your after with both hands.
What inspired you to become an electrician? I chose the career path of an Electrician as I have always been someone who prefers to keep my hands and mind active and therefore wanted a career that was not your typical desk job. The electrical trade interested me as it is composed of a vast number of different sectors which allow endless career opportunities and growth within the electrical profession. I enjoy that no two days are the same due to the variance of work and location and am pleased to know that every day, my work is helping to create a greener future for generations to come and enhancing people’s quality of lifestyle, because after all, who could live without electricity?
How did you feel about winning the Apprentice of the Year award? I felt both honoured and privileged to have been awarded the Master Electricians Australia Legrand Apprentice of the Year award. Knowing that I am the first female to take out such an award was also a massive thing and it gave me a huge sense of pride and fulfilment. I am so grateful for being given the opportunity to participate and realise now that hard work and commitment really do pay off. I am definitely looking forward to everything that lies ahead of me.
What has been the major highlight of winning the award? A major highlight of winning the award is that it has given me the opportunity to show other woman out there that we can do everything our male partners can. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t do something, you hold the keys to your future so make it everything you want it to be!
What future aspirations do you have in your career? I would like to continue to work within the electrical industry and build on my current experience and knowledge and am currently looking at studying electrical engineering. I have a strong focus on sustainable and renewable energy and look forward to being part of looking after the planet for generations to come.
What is the best thing about being an electrician? There are many aspects of the job which I enjoy, but probably the one I find most enjoyable is that no two days are ever the same. From installing, to fault finding, and working on varying jobsites, I can genuinely say that I learn something new every day; this keeps the role interesting and challenging. I also appreciate that the electrical industry is forever evolving with new technologies, which keeps me actively learning, through rewarding experiences. Having the ability to branch into different sectors within the industry means that the work will never become stale. Currently my focus is on sustainable and renewable energy and being a part of looking after the planet for generations to come.
What are the challenges that you have faced in the industry as a female? I have faced many challenges within the industry but very few, if any have been because I am female. To begin with it could be quite daunting as a female trying to fit into a male dominant workplace but fortunately for me, I work in an environment where everyone is accepting, understanding and willing to assist me where necessary. Many of the larger challenges I faced were normal, for men and women alike, for example despite having undertaken hours of work experience, I still had very little experience with tools, in particular power tools. Upon commencing my apprenticeship, this posed quite a challenge, as sometimes when asked to complete a simple task such as drilling a hole, I would be unsure of how to go about it correctly. Overall, I have been faced with many physical and mental challenges along the way but am pleased with my efforts and how far I have come.
Some advice for young people interested in a trade: If you’re unsure of getting a trade, go out and trial it by doing some unpaid work experience as it is a great way to get a better understanding of the trade and what it entails – it also looks really good on a resume when applying for jobs. Ultimately though, if you want something you’ve got to be willing to put in the hard yards and work for it, it won’t just come to you. Get yourself out there and grab what your after with both hands