Molly Miller hadn’t given any thought to working in the trades, but hearing a young woman speak glowingly about her job as a mechanic during a mining industry presentation at high school piqued her interest.
Years later, after watching a family friend – a qualified electrician – wire up her own new home, she was inspired once again.
Aged 18, Molly started an electrical apprenticeship with AGL. At first daunted by her all-male class, her confidence and skills quickly grew - and after topping her class in welding and finishing her apprenticeship, she was offered a job at AGL’s Liddell power station.
Now it’s Molly who’s the inspiration.
Presenting at schools and conferences, she’s helping other young women open their minds to a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
With technology rapidly changing the way the world works, job creation in related industries is exploding. Yet STEM fields are largely dominated by men: only one in four IT graduates, and less than one in 10 engineering graduates, are women.
That’s why AGL is ‘changing normal’
At AGL, we don’t believe things should stay the same just because they’ve always been done a certain way.
That’s why we’re trying to see things differently; to ‘change normal’.
For starters, we’re fighting gender inequality both inside and outside the workplace. We’re committed to building a diverse, inclusive and flexible workplace for all. One that extends to encouraging more young women to consider careers that incorporate technology, engineering and maths subjects at school.
We’ve also partnered with The Australian Women’s Weekly to champion its Women of the Future 2019 Awards, which recognise Aussie women aged 18-34 with a business, charity or idea that aims to bring positive change to the lives of others.
As part of the campaign, Molly features in the June edition of the magazine, outlining her career path and why she thinks other young women should explore a not-so-traditional route.
The rewards of a career path less-travelled
Thinking about what advice she’d offer her younger self, Molly is glad she kept her options open.
‘To my 15-year-old self, I’d say: Pick the subjects you love in school; pick some you don’t love but think might be important in the future, and give it 100%. Because it will help in the end.’
Finding herself in a job that relies heavily on maths still surprises Molly.
‘As an electrician you need to use the formulas – there’s a lot of maths involved. Even algebra, which I didn’t think I’d need in school. That’s really important when you’re an electrician,’ she said.
She likes turning up to work not knowing how each day will unfold. The progression she’s made from uncertain apprentice to trusted colleague is a bonus.
‘Probably the biggest challenge I faced when I started was being the only girl at work. You had to have confidence to ask questions and get in there and have a go,’ Molly said.
Now the tables have turned and it’s the new apprentices who are approaching Molly for help.
‘It makes you feel good that you can show someone how to do something. That’s a pretty good feeling.‘