More women becoming engineers, automotive mechanics

More women are breaking into the automotive and mechanical engineering industries, a change emphasised by what the Otago Polytechnic says is an unprecedented number of female students this year.

The polytech has 17 enrolled in its programmes, and four accepted as apprentices.

Senior lecturer and programme manager Hamish Miller said the number of women enrolled this year had increased by up to 50% on the year before.

In the past the intake had been as low as one or two.

Otago Polytechnic automotive and mechanical engineering students (back row, from left): Arizona Greig (17), Mikayley Bennett (19), Stoney Huntley (17), Jenna Boyes (19), Brittany Geange (20), Hayley Yates (17), Catherine Anderson (30), and (front row, fro
Otago Polytechnic automotive and mechanical engineering students (back row, from left): Arizona Greig (17), Mikayley Bennett (19), Stoney Huntley (17), Jenna Boyes (19), Brittany Geange (20), Hayley Yates (17), Catherine Anderson (30), and (front row, from left): Annalise McLay Freeman (20), Emalee Millar (26), Chloe Maindonald (18) and Brooke Odgers (21). Photo: Gerard O'Brien
There were also more women working within the industry.

''It's definitely trending upwards.

''It's great to see a rise in the number of women getting into such trades,'' he said.

Student Jenna Boyes said her partner had done the course, and ''he introduced me to car engines, and I got really interested''.

Her father was an auto electrician, the area she wanted to get into, and something she said was ''really, really fun''.

Ms Boyes said she had always been interested in mechanical objects - her grandfather's typewriter had taken her attention for a time - and she was fascinated with how things worked.

Having other women in the course was something she was not fussed about either way.

''It doesn't bother me.''

Her plan was to look for an apprenticeship after the course finished at the end of the year.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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