Tradesperson Wanda De Passey, (L), and apprentice automotive electrician Kaitlyn Taylor, are a formidable team in the workshop at South West Isuzu in regional WA.
Paired up at the start of this year, tradesperson Wanda De Passey is relishing the role of passing on her experience to first-year automotive electrical apprentice Kaitlyn Taylor.
Wanda and Kaitlyn make for a great team and their employer – South West Isuzu in regional WA – couldn’t be happier.
Service Manager Dean Pollard is grateful to have the well-functioning duo on board.
“Kaitlyn and Wanda work exceptionally well together and we are very lucky to have two aspiring automotive electricians on our team,” Dean said.
Kaitlyn, 19, believes luck was on her side when she locked in her apprenticeship, but Wanda sees it differently, clarifying that, of the work placement hopefuls she assessed, Kaitlyn simply stood out.
“She was standing back there, watching, taking every bit of it in,” Wanda said.
“I could just see that she was much more interested in what was going on.”
And from that meeting South West Isuzu’s all-girl automotive electrical department was born, and it has functioned brilliantly from day one.
Kaitlyn is excited about her future in an apprenticeship she genuinely loves.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, all I knew is it wasn’t going to be in an office, but it was going to be something physical,” said Kaitlyn.
They both agree that two women working together has its advantages.
“Our communication is really good,” said Wanda, whose commitment to teaching her first protégé is clear to see.
She adds, “I think it’s important to take the time to explain everything… but nothing teaches like doing. I feel like I’m able to push Kaitlyn because she really wants to learn.”
Kaitlyn acknowledges that making mistakes and taking responsibility is part of the learning process.
“I know that if I’ve done something wrong she won’t hold back in telling me, but I feel comfortable going to her.”
Wanda said they may work in a typically male-dominated environment, but workshop attitudes have changed and it’s no longer a ‘boys versus girls’ dynamic.
“There is some ‘mechanics versus the sparkies’ banter that goes on though, which is a bit of fun, but it’s always 100% respectful,” she said.
“We go to them for help with mechanical things and they come to us for the electrical advice, so there’s certainly mutual respect which means we all work well as a team.”