Eighteen women have been given a unique opportunity to gain rewarding careers in the resources and oil and gas sectors through new industry-sponsored scholarships at Challenger Institute of Technology.
The Women in Engineering program is delivered in partnership with industry sponsor Chevron
Australia. The students have received scholarships that enable them to conduct their studies at Challenger’s world-class oil and gas simulated plant facility, the Australian Centre for Energy and Process Training (ACEPT).
A key focus of the course is to provide the women with an insight into engineering from a female perspective and to address barriers that might discourage women from entering an engineering career.
On Wednesday 28 September, the women were introduced to six mentors, women who have forged successful engineering careers with global energy company Chevron. In a unique initiative, the mentors will serve as role models to the women taking part in the course, contributing to lectures and a dedicated online forum in which students can raise questions.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer additional support and guidance to the women by providing some of our female engineers to mentor and share their experiences and advice with those in the program,” Chevron Australia General Manager Human Resources, Kaye Butler said.
“The value a mentor provides to a mentee and to the wider organisation and community is widely acknowledged at Chevron. That is why we have a mentoring program available to all Chevron employees, and why we are very proud of our partnership with the Challenger Institute of Technology’s Women in Engineering Program.”
This one-year Certificate III in Engineering has been specifically designed to provide women candidates with skills and employment prospects through a supportive learning program that includes visits to Chevron Australia’s engineering and design offices.
“To have 18 women in this group is great progress, for as recently as three years ago the roles for women at this facility would have been very limited in both number and the scope of duties – most likely they would have only been seen behind the reception,” said Challenger chief executive officer, Liz Harris. “These women are now looking at a very positive future in the resources industry and are forging a path for women in the industry.”
“Chevron has been a wonderful partner in this initiative and their support is a great reflection
of how successful training can be when we work closely with our industry partners,” Ms Harris
The course participants have come from a diverse range of ages and backgrounds, from 18- year-old school leavers to mature-age mothers. Their academic experiences are also disparate, encompassing Asian students seeking to enhance their overseas degree qualifications, working and home-based mothers to students who had previously studied sports science, music and other areas far-removed from the world of engineering and resources.
“I was making progress in an Advanced Diploma in Contemporary Music when my aunty alerted me to the course being offered at Challenger. I’d entertained the idea of studying engineering at high school but it had seemed out of reach,” explained Jessica Duchesne (18) of Rockingham.
“But the fact this is supported by a major employer such as Chevron and offers such fantastic employment possibilities, I decided to take up the challenge. Eventually I would like to enhance my qualifications here by finishing an engineering degree.”
ACEPT is the leading provider of process operations training in Australia, offering recognised qualifications for the oil and gas, mineral and chemical processing industries. It ensures a higher standard of workers through customised training that meets the workforce development needs of companies worldwide.