RSHS Deputy Principal Dan Petersen and Year 11 engineering student Sarah Castles
RSHS Deputy Principal Dan Petersen and Year 11 engineering student Sarah Castles Jann Houley

Diesel's a fitting vocation for CQ girls

DIESEL, fuel and hard work flows in Sarah Castles' veins.

The Year 11 Rockhampton State High School student is undertaking not one but three vocational certificates as part of her senior schooling.

"My Mum, who works in administration, wanted me to do a bit of everything so I'm studying a Cert. II in Business as well as Rural Operations and Engineering," she said yesterday.

Rural Operations skills such as cattle work and fencing are important to Sarah's life on her family's 13-acre property near Alton Downs where she's very active in the show cattle circuit.

But it's the three 70-minute engineering lessons per week, in epoxy welding and metal drilling, which really light her fire.

 

Chloe White, Faith Bowden, Sam McKenzie-McHarg, Sarah IronsSarah Castles, Casey Sanderson and Caley Hoy visit Hastings Deering on International Women's Day
Chloe White, Faith Bowden, Sam McKenzie-McHarg, Sarah IronsSarah Castles, Casey Sanderson and Caley Hoy visit Hastings Deering on International Women's Day contributed

Sarah said her fascination with machinery goes back at least three generations.

"My Pop [paternal grandfather] was an excavator, scraper and grader; he owned his business which took him from Bucasia to the Northern Territory and everywhere in between," she said.

"My other grandfather was a dump truck driver and my Dad has worked at CQ Cranes for 27 years.

My brother Cody is a trades assistant at Hastings Deering and my other brother Ryan is a part interpreter at REO Heavy Equipment."

Sarah's goal is to go straight from year 12 studies to a paid apprenticeship at the Hastings Deering plant on Port Curtis Road.

She joined six other young women there on International Women's Day for morning tea and a tour of the facilities.

They were invited to the live simulcast of the Women in Mining and Resources Qld awards which celebrate exceptional female talent in the resources sector.

Hastings Deering Rockhampton's diesel fitter Dannielle Weston was the 2018 winner of the Exceptional Tradesperson/operator title and was runner up in the national awards.

"It was really inspiring to hear the nominees talk about their journey," Sarah said.

"Their strongest message was you can do anything you put your mind towards so long as you work hard and don't let anyone put you down."

The group spent a half hour walking through the sheds and machinery, discussing various tools and processes.

"There were so many different jobs on offer but diesel fitting is what I've always wanted to do," Sarah said.

RSHS Deputy Principal Dan Petersen said it was really important to provide all students the choice whether to go to uni or into the trades

"Some students follow their family into a familiar field and others want to try something entirely different," he said.

"In offering them real life experience in engineering, hospitality - and we're looking at opening up studies into aquaculture - we cater to every student."