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People's Choice Awards 2020

Category: Apprentice of the Year

Georgia Foley

Georgia FoleyQualification: Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
Trained by: TAFE NSW
Employed by: HVTC Pty Ltd
Hosted by: Narrabri Coal Operations

“What I love most about mining is that the technology is always advancing – there’s always more knowledge to be gained.”

When Georgia commenced her apprenticeship with Whitehaven Coal, she was delighted to receive the Bert Evans Scholarship.

“The scholarship helped me enormously,” says Georgia. “It eased the financial burden of travel and living costs. I was able to pay my TAFE fees and buy good quality tools to build my kit.”

From the outset Georgia’s employer HVTC offered valuable mentoring and support. HVTC kept her updated with industry relevant information as well as providing opportunities to broaden her skills and knowledge with other employers in the region.

Georgia FoleyGeorgia successfully adapted to working in a male-dominated, non-traditional trade while building her self-confidence, resilience and communication skills, and becoming highly respected within the industry.

“I have come across those who believe women shouldn’t be in my workplace,” says Georgia. “I’ve risen above these attitudes by modelling positivity and embracing every possible training opportunity. I’ve also worked with some very talented male tradesmen who are more than willing to pass on their knowledge. I encourage women to consider taking the path of a male-dominated trade as it’s very rewarding.”

Georgia’s host company Whitehaven Coal provided her with the opportunity to work at all four Whitehaven mine sites and experience both open cut and underground mining. They also supported Georgia to expand her workplace skills through additional training including High Voltage Training, Open Cabling for Telecommunications, Low Voltage Rescue as well as essential mine rescue and CPR safety training. Impressed by her achievements they featured Georgia in various promotional activities.

“I was proud to represent such a well-known company that’s a huge part of our community,” says Georgia. “They provide so many amazing job opportunities for people within our region.”