Qualification: Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
Host Business: Territory Generation
RTO: Charles Darwin University
"As a female tradie I get a lot of questions about being a female in a male based, trade orientated workplace and the experiences that I have had with it. These questions come from many other females and some of the guys that I work with also ask how my experience has been. I love it! "
Brieanna McSweeny's interest in the electrical industry began during her Year 12 when she attended an open day at the Owen Springs Power Station. While she had initially been accepted into an Electrical Engineering degree, instead Brieanna opted for an electrical apprenticeship hosted to Territory Generation.
She has now completed her Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician apprenticeship and is now a licensed electrical mechanical fitter/electrician. She was so committed to her training that she even enrolled in an Instrumentation qualification during her fourth year, making her a dual qualified tradesperson.
And if that is not impressive enough, she was also chosen as a finalist for the upcoming Master Builders EBC Awards for Apprentice of the Year, as well as NT Training Awards in the prestigious Austin Asche Apprentice of the Year category!
What impact did your studies/work have on your life?
My apprenticeship was hosted to Territory Generation, and I work at Owen Springs Power Station in Alice Springs. Territory Generation are the main power distributors for the Northern Territory and have power stations in Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, Kings Canyon and Yulara.
At Owen Springs Power Station, we use reciprocating gas and diesel engines and gas/diesel turbines that are assisted by control systems and auxiliary pumps and motors. During my Year 12 year I was invited to an open day to look at the power station. Visiting the site and looking around at the different engines and equipment around the station and the brief explanation of an energy distribution system really sparked my interest into applying for an Electrical Engineering course at university, which I did.
During Year 12, I received my acceptance into the engineering course, however I noticed an electrical apprenticeship advertised and I was encouraged by my family to apply, as this would give me good electrical foundations if I was to study Electrical Engineering, as many in the industry say the best Engineers are the ones with practical experience. Since undertaking this apprenticeship, it has really opened my eyes into the many different fields I can progress into.
Taking the apprenticeship at a power station has introduced me into working with not only electrical trades people on site, also electrical engineers, mechanical engineers and control system engineers, and collaborating with them to troubleshoot issues, review design new projects and better understand the control systems, along with the mechanical and electrical systems that are used throughout the station. During my fourth year of apprenticeship, I enrolled in Instrumentation and have already completed three blocks and completed in August 2023 which makes me a dual qualified tradesperson.
Since completing my apprenticeship, I am now the Deputy Chair of the Territory Generation Workplace Health and Safety committee. I take safety seriously and it is great to be able to contribute back to the organisation that invested in me.
As a female tradie I get a lot of questions about being a female in a male based, trade orientated workplace and the experiences that I have had with it. These questions come from many other females and some of the guys that I work with also ask how my experience has been. I love it!
I loved my apprenticeship and I love learning how to approach tasks in different ways and how you need to solve problems with resources that are available at the time. I love that as your knowledge grows, your ability to finish tasks independently also grows.