Christine’s career change puts her among the boys

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Challenger TAFE student Christine Reher made a bold career move when she decided to leave her job in office administration and enter the male-dominated world of oil and gas production.

The Padbury resident has begun a two-year process plant operations traineeship with Maersk Australia on its Ngujima-Yin petroleum vessel in the North-West Cape.

Christine said after years of administrative work, she had grown tired of her desk job and wanted to ‘get her hands dirty’, so she enrolled at Challenger TAFE’s Australian Centre for Energy and Process Training.

She completed Certificate II in Process Plant Operations last year and was offered a traineeship when Maersk visited the centre to recruit new workers. The traineeship is part of a higher Certificate III, and Christine has plans to take her skills even further with a Certificate IV.

 “I’m really enjoying my new career,” Christine said. “I was excited and terrified – excited to be starting something new and terrified to be doing something so different.

“My training at ACEPT really gave me the confidence to start my job as a competent member of the core crew on the Maersk vessel. It’s a great job for people with a background in mechanics, electrics or instrumentation – or even if you are like me and have no experience at all.

“It’s been a real change for me but I am so pleased I made the decision to get out there and work with the boys.”

ACEPT principal lecturer Brian Acreman said there was a real need for trained process plant operators because an increasing number of these workers were approaching retirement and resource companies needed to fill the gaps.

“Also, with the increase in oil and gas developments, there is going to be a shortage of qualified, experienced operators in the industry,” Brian said.

Mr Acreman said ACEPT training gave students the practical skills and knowledge to operate machines and equipment in the chemical, hydrocarbon and oil refining industries.

Students received hands-on training at ACEPT’s simulated oil and gas plant and learned about how to process and record information, as well as how to respond to emergency situations.

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