Ms Maree Karukuru, a female graduate from the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC), is making a name for herself in a male dominated trade profession in Papua New Guinea.
Ms Karukuru graduated with a Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade (Fitting and Machining) in 2015. According to Ms Karukuru, receiving an Australian qualification from APTC has opened many doors for her including her latest endeavour to join the PNG Defence Force.
She hopes to take up the role of a helicopter mechanic with the PNG Defence Force Air Transport Squadron after completing the recruitment process.
“I once read a newspaper article featuring a female helicopter mechanic. That was when I told myself that this is what I want to do," she said.
Ms Karukuru is very passionate about her trade and says that her father has been a driving factor for her to achieve her dream.
She has been in the mechanical trade for more than seven years, having started off as an assistant gas fitter.
Encouraged by her workmates, Ms Karukuru decided to pursue a qualification in Engineering – mechanical trade from APTC.
APTC is an innovative development project delivering Australian-standard skills and qualifications for a wide range of vocational careers for skilled workers across the Pacific.
Ms Karukuru’s studies at APTC helped her to learn more about the mechanical functions of modern engineering and the technology now used in this trade area.
“APTC's quality of training and standards is the real deal. Not only have I learned a lot but the training has taught me to be responsible and more vocal as a woman in a male-dominated field,” she said.
She added that working in a male-dominated trade in PNG is especially challenging when dealing with cultural, traditional and social barriers.
“Giving instructions to a male colleague in the workplace is sometimes difficult. Where I come from, it is often the other way around. I have learned that as long as there is mutual respect and good communication, things can be achieved,” she added.
Ms Karukuru has previously worked as an Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic. She is competent in disassembling aircraft engines and fitting propellers (twin otters) on aircrafts.