The face of Fraser Engineering’s automotive engineering department is changing with two young women now working as production assistants at the Lower Hutt based company which is part of a rapidly changing industry that is becoming more high tech and facing significant skills shortage.
Good pay and challenging jobs with tons of variety are drawing women into roles that have been traditionally undertaken by men. And it’s a change that is being welcomed by Fraser Engineering CEO Martin Simpson and Production Manager Phil Green as they want to attract people to work for their expanding company.
“We’ve got a big skills shortage to address and we can offer people great opportunities and fantastic prospects in jobs that are full of variety plus each day is different,” says Phil Green. “No one here is stuck doing the same job. We’re producing one fire engine a week and we’ve got plans to increase that output significantly. We are probably the biggest manufacturer in Australasia now. Part of the solution to addressing skills shortages is to encourage more women to work for us”.
“There’s a lot of potential for women in this industry to learn and go a long way. Frasers is a good company to work for and you get to do a lot more than other places. We build prototype and production fire engines so the work is very varied,” says Phil Green. “Our female production assistants are as capable as any guy. Women fit in well on our work-site. They just need the confidence to go for it and they’ll find being an automotive engineer is a great career.”
Two women recently started work at Fraser Engineering as production assistants. They are Anne Marie Edmonds and Jennifer Rogers – both studied automotive engineering at WelTec.
“Not many girls can say hey I built a fire engine today. It’s pretty cool,” says Jennifer Rogers. Jennifer who lives in Stokes Valley and went to Taita College for her final years at high school went straight to WelTec to study level 4 Certificate in Automotive Technology specialising in electrical which she is aiming to finish this year.
Ann Marie Edmonds, Mum of three who completed an automotive qualification at WelTec has been working at Frasers since April. “I wanted to show my kids a different path. I moved to Wellington from Auckland, studied at WelTec and saw the job advertised at Frasers and thought, well that’s good money, I’ll go for it.
“No day is the same here. One day I’ll be working on an actual fire truck doing cabling, the next day I make up boxes for wiring pumps, then I’ll be mounting pump panels and wiring pumps. Mounting beacons and aerials on the roof of fire trucks is one job I really like,” says Ann Marie.
“Women can do this job just as good as men, sometimes better. Young women can get stuck on hairdressing or similar jobs. Automotive engineering is a good option. It’s something different and it opens up a lot of opportunities for women,” says Ann Marie. “This is my first proper job. I like the work and I love getting paid! I sometimes overhear my kids telling their friends – My Mum builds fire engines. Their friends are seriously impressed and my kids think it’s really cool – they’re proud of me.”
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