Apprentice is living the dream
Working on Collins Class Submarines and Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels has been a dream come true for ASC’s 25-year-old, metal fabricating apprentice Evyenia Kontakos.
She said ASC provided a progressive workplace environment with flexible rosters, opportunities for professional advancement and a great culture.
“I’m working on some of the most technologically advanced projects in the world today,’’ Evyenia said.
“There’s not lot of people who can say that. My work is physical and challenging, the hours are great and the pay is excellent.
“It’s everything I want in a job.’’
During high school Evyenia and her female friends never considered taking metal work classes or other technical study or design opportunities.
“I used to think it was ‘male only’ back then and my female friends were the same,’’ she said.
“As girls we were encouraged to concentrate on being teachers or getting into the real estate industry, trades just never came into the picture.
“Teachers never expected young women wanting to do a job like welding or metal fabricating.’’
However, after finishing school Evyenia and many of her friends weren’t put off searching for a trade qualification and enrolled at TAFE SA to become farriers.
Evyenia started on the same path by enrolling for a Certificate II in Engineering (Metal Fabrication) but ‘fell in love’ with welding along the way.
“I have always enjoyed a job that challenges me and has a physical side to it,’’ she said.
“Welding requires strong hand-eye coordination skills and it’s not something that everyone else can do. Once I started on welding I didn’t want to do anything else.’’
Evyenia said increased support for young women considering a trade career continues to develop.
“The Naval Shipbuilding College’s Workforce Register is a definite help for people wanting to find work or how to become qualified for work in the defence industry,’’ she said.
“And having more women teaching technical classes at high school can make a difference in attracting more girls to try it out. For some young women, speaking to another woman can feel more comfortable.’’
Evyenia sees herself in the same industry 10 years from now, hopefully in a supervisor or quality role.
“I don’t want to leave this industry, I love the work and I’ve already bought a house,’’ she said.
“After spending time working on a boat or ship, to see it sail out for the last time is incredibly rewarding.
“I always stay up to date with the news so I hear about where the boat is or what it’s doing around the world and I take a lot of pride in that.
“I know I contributed to the success of that vessel, and it is helping keep our country, and the people sailing it, safe.’’
If you are interested in a naval shipbuilding career, join the national Workforce Register today.