After a few early challenges, Chinchilla’s Sinade Crothers-Wilcox says she has now got the balance right between work and family life, built around her five-year-old daughter Charlotte.
And much of this is thanks to Origin seeing her potential and giving her a second chance to finish her mechanical fitter apprenticeship, which she began in 2009 as a 17-year-old.
Not that Sinade’s potential would be hard to miss, considering her much-loved dad, Colin, taught her how to weld when she was 10 and together they built a trailer and car “from the ground up” while she was still in primary school.
“Welding is still my favourite thing to do,” said the 26-year-old with a smile as she cast her mind back to those days when she was her dad’s number one offsider.
Sinade was successful in gaining a place in Origin’s 2018 Apprentice and Trainee Program intake to complete a four-year Mechanical Fitter apprenticeship.
She was recruited as part of Origin’s ongoing focus on providing employment opportunities in the communities in which we operate.
Origin’s General Manager for the Condabri, Talinga and Orana, Alex Kennedy-Clark, said the apprenticeships are an important part of the company’s commitment to local employment.
“We’re keen to provide employment opportunities for local people to start a career in the industry in the region,” she said.
“We currently have a dozen apprentices and trainees from two previous intakes – living in the Chinchilla, Miles and Roma communities and working at our operational sites from Talinga and Condabri up to Reedy Creek and Spring Gully.
Reflecting on her own experience, Sinade said “with Charlotte starting prep I decided, after prompting by a friend, to try my luck and apply”.
“Luckily they wanted to help me finish it off. I didn’t have to repeat anything just pick up from where I left off, which was awesome.”
She said being given the opportunity to finish her apprenticeship had not only taken a lot of pressure off but Origin’s willingness to help “also gives others the encouragement to keep going and that having kids needn’t hold you back or stop you doing what you love”.
“Getting this job has helped my family tremendously, and has given me the opportunity to finish my apprenticeship doing what I love.”
The help provided to Sinade did not stop with resuming her training.
“Origin is accommodating when it comes to my position and as I have a young family in town they won’t just send me off to another work site for a week at a time and see me being away from Charlotte,” said Sinade, adding that if the option arrived for her to get more experience at other Origin sites, however, “we will have that discussion”.
Origin’s apprenticeship program combines on-the-job learning, professional and technical training, mentoring and career development opportunities within the gas industry.
The program is run in partnership with MIGAS Apprentices and Trainees. MIGAS and Origin have been working together since 2016 to create and promote employment opportunities for the local community and build skills within the region’s key sectors.