Seven months for apprenticeship

Seventeen-year-old Gladstone apprentice Jessica Chivers with Ergon regional services manager John Dunn and training and development manager Katrina Mitchener.
Seventeen-year-old Gladstone apprentice Jessica Chivers with Ergon regional services manager John Dunn and training and development manager Katrina Mitchener. Contributed

JESSICA Chivers isn't your average 17-year-old girl.

While most of this Chanel College graduate's friends have plans for university, Jessica has been working to gain an apprenticeship with Ergon Energy.

Today, she will complete her first week at work.

"It's been really good," she said.

"Really interesting. It's pretty phenomenal to be here."

Jessica began the long application process last June when she submitted her resume to Ergon.

From there she had to pass an online aptitude test, before being invited to take another aptitude test under supervision in Rockhampton.

"I guess my marks must have been good enough because they asked me back," she said.

But the process still wasn't over.

Jessica then underwent a psychological test and she took part in interviews with various Ergon teams.

She was also supervised by Ergon employees to see how she coped working in a team.

She only found out last month that her application had been successful.

"The recruitment process was fairly ongoing, so when I finally found out that I had been accepted, I was really excited," she said.

"I remember just sitting in the car and opening my letter ... it was a great feeling."

Jessica, who hopes to become a systems electrician, said she had no qualms about entering what can only be described as a male-dominated industry.

"It suits who I am and I feel fine about it," she said.

"I don't mind working with boys."

Being a female in a sea of males is something Jessica is used to from her sporting pursuits.

A keen trail bike rider, Jessica said she was not bothered at being out numbered.

"Trail is a male-dominated sport and it's never worried me," she said.

As for the Ergon lads, she said they couldn't have been friendlier.

"All the guys are really good about it," she said.

"There are no old-fashioned values here.

"Everyone has been really encouraging and really nice."

When asked what her advice to girls at school would be, Jessica urged them to think outside the box.

"Girls should do all sorts of different things in the workforce," she said.

"The way society is now, there's no reason not to.

"Whatever you want to do, just go for it."



72 new Ergon apprentices have been taken on in Queensland, out of about 2500 applicants

12 of those were women

Topics:  apprenticeship ergon energy

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