Illawarra tradeswoman named Apprentice of the Year

BlueScope electrician Naomi Alves took out top honours at the 2018 HVTC Excellence Awards held in Newcastle on Friday night and was named Apprentice of the Year by the group training organisation.

The 23 year old said pursuing an electrical trade career was the best decision she’d ever made.

“I was always impressed with my father’s skill as an electrician so towards the end of high school I decided to do a pre-apprenticeship in Electrotechnology and absolutely loved it. Everything just evolved from there,” said Naomi.

Having completed her apprenticeship with BlueScope, Naomi is now a fully-qualified High Voltage Specialist Electrician. She holds a Cert III in Electrotechnology, a Cert IV in Industrial Electronics and Control, and is completing a Cert IV in Electrical Instrumentation.

“I thoroughly enjoy every aspect of my job - from the practical, hands-on work to the problem solving component. There’s a lot of variety in the work we do and I’m learning something new each day which is really expanding my skill set.”

“I’ve had great support from HVTC Illawarra and my workmates and supervisors at BlueScope. Everyone has been very helpful and I’ve been made to feel welcome in all the different sections I’ve worked in,” she said.

Naomi encourages other females interested in pursuing a trade to not be discouraged by the thought of entering traditionally male dominated careers.

“Take a leap of faith. I’ve met a lot of other females working in the same or similar trades at the steelworks and they’ve been very supportive and encouraging.”

“I think there definitely needs to be more women in the electrical industry. To start off with I was a little scared about entering a trade that was predominately male but over time my fears were minimised.”

Winners in the 13 Excellence Award categories were selected from finalists across HVTC’s ten regional branches located throughout New South Wales.

HVTC CEO Sharon Smith says vocational education pathways can lead to career success for many young people.

“These awards not only celebrate the great results of our apprentices and trainees but they also reflect the significant role our business and industry partners play in making sure our young people secure quality employment outcomes,” Ms Smith said.

The HVTC Apprentice of the Year Award was sponsored by Howden Australia.

2018 HVTC Excellence Award winner, Naomi Alves 

Image: Karen Dhillon & Livio Salvestro (Howden Australia), Naomi Alves, Mick Ruddock (HVTC Illawarra), Anthony Donnelly (BlueScope)