A young woman on a mission, knocking down walls, driven by hard work and building her future, one welded beam and conquered stereotype at a time.
However, it has not always been an easy road, it took Candace Smith a few tries to gain the confidence and support to pursue her passion.
“When I first started my apprenticeship, I was told so many times that women don’t belong in this environment that I eventually gave it up. But my passion for my trade was stronger than one person’s opinion, and now with Civmec, I feel really valued along with awesome support from the MIGAS team,” Candace said.
As a young girl, Candace decided she wanted to undertake a Boilermaking Apprenticeship after helping her dad in his shed with his boilermaking business.
A boilermaker is perceived to be one of the more masculine professions, once thought only a man can do. But in the workshop, Candace is confident, powerful, and isn't letting any stereotypes get in the way.
Civmec Construction and Engineering in Tomago NSW provided the right environment for Candace to shine and, in return, she delivers drive and energy on the job to get things done and often outperforms the skilled tradesmen she works with.
“At CIVMEC I am so accepted, so supported by everyone around me," said Candace.
Nigel Baston, HR Advisor from CIVMEC knows that driving this transformation is a growing belief the business and industry is more innovative when there is diversity in the workforce.
“There is a need for strategic thinkers and problem solvers that are good with logic and rationale and equally have a higher level of emotional intelligence,” said Mr Baston.
Candace acknowledges nothing is ever easy in the trade but admits “learning all the basic knowledge with my Dad growing up gave me a head start to know what the trade was about.”
"I enjoy how hands-on the trade is and being able to make things sometimes from scratch," said Candace. "I love going to work each day and learning as the more I learn, the better I will get."
“One of the biggest challenges in the apprenticeship is learning how to read the drawings, but I'm making progress and can read them and now understands them far quicker."
Given the obstacles Candace has knocked down in a male-dominated trade to get to where she is today, there’s no doubt she will be successful in her trade and an inspiration to other females considering the profession. Candace's career dream to become a qualified underwater welder working on big ships is no doubt set.
At MIGAS we know that no apprentice journey is easy and Candace Smith is proof that women do survive – and thrive – in the trades.