Former digital marketing professional, hospitality manager and mother, Elizabeth Paton, has earned a 2020 Clayton Utz Scholarship for Female in Trade while following her teenage dream of becoming an electrician.
Elizabeth is studying a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician at Box Hill Institute, a requirement to attain an electrical license. "I felt absolutely chuffed, "she said.
"I know I can succeed. I will, and this scholarship is a reminder that other people think I can too. I am extremely grateful to Clayton Utz for this and their generous contribution," said Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is thankful for Clayton Utz's initiative in supporting females in trade. While she has chosen a unique career for women, she is driven more to succeed.
This $2,500 scholarship aims to support female students from underprivileged backgrounds to start or continue with their studies towards a trade related to the rail industry. It will allow Elizabeth to pay her school fees and buy trade tools, relieving the pressure in raising her six-year-old daughter.
Elizabeth had tried to get an apprenticeship in her teens but was unsuccessful. She was a hospitality manager for eight years before studying a Bachelor of Business, majoring in marketing and minoring in finance and economics. Living in Darwin at the time, it wasn't easy to get her career off the ground, so she moved to Melbourne for better opportunities.
Elizabeth said, "In my late 20s, I found myself unfulfilled by these jobs realising I sought a career that challenged me both academically and physically, and I decided to pursue the electrical career I always wanted."
After nine months searching for an apprenticeship, which enabled her to enrol in the Certificate III at Box Hill Institute, she now works in the building industry doing the electrical work for apartments and high-rises, and she enjoys learning about the science of electricity, and various principles and theories. She said, "My favourite subject to date is magnetism, learning the various electromagnetic effects that should be considered in electrical installations."
Elizabeth said she has a lot of respect for her teachers as experts in the electrical field. She said, "The teachers are very knowledgeable, and I have seen them collaborate with students effectively as a tradesman. I am pleased to be a beneficiary of their expertise and knowledge.
"Since day dot, the support from everyone at BHI has been relentless and I have felt liberated as a female chasing an electrical career. I have developed great relationships with the teachers and staff in the electrical faculty," she said.
Initially when Elizabeth entered the male-dominated industry, she felt a little uneasy but she quickly found her feet. She said, "My confidence has never been better, fast-tracked by the support I feel from my work colleagues, my peers, and teachers at school, and even the other tradesmen onsite.”
Elizabeth is grateful to all those who have supported her including the guys at her work, CIDEC, especially the Project Manager and Director, Alan Penny and Julie Athanasiou who accepted her nomination and processed her application for the scholarship, her teacher Norman Coombs, her classmates, and of course her family and daughter (mini-me).
"And of course, Clayton Utz. I cannot express it well enough. Seriously, thank you so much," she said.
Congratulations Elizabeth, for winning the scholarship and especially for pursuing your dreams.