Carolyn Dobson gave up a dream of travelling Australia as a chef for a love of working on machinery.
Now employed in the Bowen Basin as a fourth-year apprentice diesel fitter, Ms Dobson was last night named as Outstanding Tradeswoman/Technician/Operator at the 2017 Women in Resources National Awards (WIRNA).
The aspiring chef’s change of career path was sparked by an auto-mechanic course she joined to equip herself to fix her vehicle if it broke down in the outback.
After finishing some work experience with a local mechanic, in her home suburb of Redcliffe, she went back to the kitchen to finish her chef’s apprenticeship, but not for long.
“The more time I spent in the kitchen, the more I realised that it wasn’t for me, and I would much rather still be fixing cars. That’s when a family friend who worked for BMA told me about the apprenticeships that were offered every year,” Ms Dobson said.
“He was a diesel fitter at one of BMA’s mines and he would always tell me stories about the massive machinery that he works on every day. He encouraged me to apply for a diesel fitting apprenticeship with BMA and so here I am, working on the same machinery as him, the ones I thought I’d only ever hear about.”
Ms Dobson, who lives in Moranbah, has encouraged other young women to take up trade careers, helping at ‘try-a-trade’ workshops focused on high school girls. She is the only female step-up supervisor in her area and is paving the way for other women.
The full list of winners of the 2017 Rio Tinto Australian Women in Resources National Awards is below:
Gender Diversity Champion in Australia Resources
Winner: Fiona Robertson, Non-Executive Director, Heron Resources (NSW)
Highly Commended: Gabriela Love, Principal Mine Projects Engineer, Newcrest Mining Ltd (Vic)
Excellence in Company Diversity Programs and Performance
Winner: St Barbara Limited (VIC)
Highly Commended: BHP Billiton – Integrated Remote Operating Centre (QLD)
Outstanding Tradeswoman/Operator/Technician in Australian Resources
Winner: Carolyn Dobson, Diesel Fitter, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) (QLD)
Highly Commended: Sharron Freitas, Production Group Leader, Alcoa of Australia (WA)
Exceptional Young Woman in Australian Resources
Winner: Rachel Leong, Lead Surveillance Engineer, Woodside Energy Ltd (WA)
Highly Commended: Nikhat Nagin, Principal Engineering, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) (QLD)
Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources
Winner: Vanessa Torres, Vice President, Operational Infrastructure, BHP Iron Ore (WA)
Highly Commended: Kirsten Molloy, Chief Executive Officer of the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator
Highly Commended: Karen Alexander, Manager Strategic Alliances, Hastings Deering (NSW)
Special Judges Awards
Andrew Bigg, Operations Manager Mining and Mobile Maintenance, South32 GEMCO (NT)
Industry Achievement Award
Michelle Keegan, Vice President Strategy, Incitec Pivot Limited (VIC)