Bronwyn Gurney accepts the Pride of Workmanship Award from the Rotary Club of Biloela.
Bronwyn Gurney accepts the Pride of Workmanship Award from the Rotary Club of Biloela.

Blonde, beautiful diesel fitter defying the stereotypes

BLONDE and beautiful, Bronwyn Gurney is not who you would expect to see getting her hands dirty on the job site.

But for the third-year apprentice diesel fitter, being responsible for multi-million dollar trucks is all in a day's work.

"Every time I come to work, it amazes me the gear we work on,” Bronwyn said.

The 20-year-old, who studies through the Tafe Queensland Bundaberg campus, works at the AngloAmerican Dawson mine, about one hour south-west of Biloela.

There she is based in the ancillary workshop, where she works on lighting plants, service trucks and highway vehicles. It's a physically demanding role, but Bronwyn said it was what drew her into the trades industry.

"I got to the end of my schooling life and considered uni a lot, but I didn't want to go back to a schooling environment; I wanted to be hands-on,” she said.

DIRTY WORK: Apprentice diesel fitter Bronwyn Gurney works with multi-million dollar machinery and (right) accepting the Pride of Workmanship Award from the Rotary Club of Biloela.
DIRTY WORK: Apprentice diesel fitter Bronwyn Gurney works with multi-million dollar machinery and (right) accepting the Pride of Workmanship Award from the Rotary Club of Biloela.

"I always learned more by doing and have always been more visual, so I thought a trade would suit me better than just sitting still in a classroom.”

While she has doubted her abilities at times, Bronwyn said she had overcome her insecurities.

"I think I've just realised that it doesn't matter how long you've been in the field or how much training you have, everyone makes mistakes and I shouldn't be so hard on myself. It's not that I'm not strong enough or that I can't do it because I'm a girl, it's just me doubting myself.”

Bronwyn is now thriving in her trade, taking out the GAGAL Third Year Apprentice of the Year Award in August, placing second in the 2017 World Skills Regional Competition in Bundaberg, and earning recognition by the Rotary Club of Biloela with a Pride of Workmanship Award in October.

In addition to her determination, Bronwyn credits her success to the guidance of her employer and the dedication of her teachers who travel out to Biloela to train her.

"In this industry, you don't really get to pull stuff apart - you fit it and go from there. But at Tafe they get us to take things apart so we can have an understanding of what's going on inside it. It really helps when you fully understand how something works.

"We also don't keep a lot of parts at the store there so you have to think outside the box to get the job done. Every day is different, which is great for learning. I always have to apply myself to get the job done.”

While she's had to work hard to get to where she is, Bronwyn says she feels lucky to have found a career she loves and now encourages others to pursue their passion in trades.

"My advice is to just be keen to get in and have a go. Everybody has their limitations so don't be afraid to take it on or go a different way about it,” Bronwyn. said

"When I was a kid I never thought I'd be in this trade. But if you're keen to learn and have a passion for it, nothing will stop you.”



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