"Meriam is an excellent example of a young woman showing that women can be leaders in the non-traditional trades in the Pacific."
APTC Trainer, Leigh Rollo readily gives Certificate III Engineering Mechanical Trade student Meriam Utran high praise.
Meriam has returned to the Samoa Campus from her home in Vanuatu to complete the third block of her training course after a break from studies to have her first child, daughter Nyla, who is now 10 months old.
"I was interested in the Fitting and Machining trade in year 12 at school," explained Meriam.
"I was good at science and maths, I enjoy drawing and design, and I like working with my hands and doing calculations."
On leaving school, Meriam took advantage of opportunities available for women to enter the trade, undertaking an apprenticeship with Vanuatu Beverage.
This led to her enrollment with APTC, beginning the first training block of her Certificate III course at the Samoa Campus in 2008.
Meriam's partner is taking good care of their daughter back in Vanuatu, "But I am missing her. I talk to her on the phone three or four times a week."
Despite this, she encourages other women in trades to apply to APTC.
"It's an experience they will enjoy, I am enjoying it. The male students treat me well. We do class exercises and practical activities together, and help each other. They treat me as a sister and with respect. "