‘I picked up the tools and haven’t looked back’

On International Women’s Day today, final-year electrical apprentice Natasha Martin wants other women to know how empowering it is to have a career ‘on the tools’. 

Natasha, hosted to Albury Wodonga Health, said every day was full of variety and challenges that grew in responsibility as her apprenticeship progressed. 

“One minute I could be fixing a power point, the next, a three-phase motor,” she said. 

“As time goes on, your employer trusts you to take on more challenging responsibilities. 

“I’ve got to the point where my employer will say: ‘Here’s the job, you do it your way’. 

“It’s very rewarding.” 


Natasha, 25, began her apprenticeship several years after completing Year 12 with an ATAR and plans to go to uni. 

“However, I realised uni wasn’t the path I wanted to go down,” she said. 

“I had taken on a series of customer-service roles, but I really wanted to do a trade — I’m a hands-on type of girl.  

“I liked tinkering with cars, on 12-volt electrical work, so I explored the idea of an electrical trade and found I was interested in it.” 

The apprenticeship she’s doing now was advertised by Ai Group Apprentice and Trainee Centre (Ai Group ATC), and Area Manager Chanon Ramos has been supportive all the way. 

“I applied and haven’t looked back,” Natasha said. 

“One of the best things about Ai Group ATC is their encouragement and desire to see me succeed. 

“Chanon was helpful right from the interview stage. 

“If anyone was thinking of starting an apprenticeship, I’d recommend Ai Group ATC for their guidance and help. If I have any issues, I can ring Chanon and he’ll get back to me within the day and help. 

“It’s great knowing you’ve got that person whose job it is to get you through your apprenticeship and help you out in any way possible — whether that’s for PPE, tools or emotional support for confronting situations that may occur within a hospital workplace.” 

Go for it 

Natasha’s friends and family have been supportive of her decision to pursue a career in a male-dominated field. 

“My friends said: ‘go for it’ when I told them I planned to do an apprenticeship,” she said. 

“They always ask what stage I’m at. 

“My parents were really supportive, too.  

“At first, Mum said ‘it’s not the normal route girls take’, but she knows I’m very hands-on and like to get out there.  

“She and Dad both say: ‘As long as you’re happy doing what you’re doing’. 

“Now I’m in my 4th year and Mum keeps reminding me I’m nearly there.” 

There’s curiosity and support at work, too. 

“Working in a hospital, I meet a lot of people and they always ask: ‘What do you do?’ 

“When I tell them, they say: ‘That’s awesome!’” 

On the home stretch 

Natasha must pass her final ‘capstone’ exam — covering everything she’s learned over the course of her apprenticeship — in June before gaining her electrical license. 

After that, she hopes to remain at Albury Wodonga Health to build on the proficiency and confidence she has gained. 

“I’d like to stay because I know the place well — I love it,” she said. 

“It makes me feel humble to be doing what I’m doing and to be good at my job. 

“It was daunting when I first started, especially since I’m the only woman on the engineering team at the hospital, but it’s been empowering.” 

So many opportunities 

Natasha is already considering further study down the line to broaden her skills. 

“After five years or so, I might add a few units to my electrical trade so I could do power lines,” she said. 

“There are so many opportunities and pathways. 

“Some people still have traditional views that a woman should have a desk job and have kids, but there are other paths. 

“Having said that, of course you can balance a trade with a family — but I would like to see schools do more to promote apprenticeships to women. 

“The focus tends to be on getting an ATAR and gong to uni, but women can get on the tools, too. Apprenticeships are not just for blokes. 

“The more girls that go out and do it, the better.” 

Chanon says . . .  

“Natasha is an all-round superstar who goes over and above at TAFE and work. 

“She has a real willingness to get involved and learn new things. 

“Albury Wodonga Health has been a great host, and Natasha’s supervisors give her plenty of opportunities to learn and apply her trade skills. 

“Recently she put her hand up to help mentor another female Ai Group ATC electrical apprentice, making herself available for TAFE-related support. 

“It’s been a rewarding opportunity to mentor and support Natasha through her apprenticeship, and I look forward to congratulating her when she completes her trade.”