Mount Isa schoolgirl shortlists in Construction Skills Queensland award

MOUNT Isa student Olivia Wilkinson is a student of the year finalist in the Construction Skills Queensland awards.

She will be interviewed by CSQ next Tuesday, October 20, to determine if she will win the award.

The winner will be announced in November.

The Year 12 Good Shepherd Catholic College student has been attending construction classes at TAFE Queensland North since February.

She said her father was a mine manager, and he was surprised to learn she wanted to be a carpenter.

It took him some convincing she was choosing the right career path.

“I wanted to do something that could potentially give me options when I graduated from school,” Ms Wilkinson said.

“So that’s why my introduction to the construction industry has been so beneficial in helping me decide what I want to do and can do in the future.”

During that time she has been involved in the building of the Mount Isa Fish Stocking Group’s hatchery along with other construction students.

She said there were several challenges she faced such as being the only female in the class of nine.

The tools were intimidating to her at first.

“I was fearful of some of the tools such as the power saws and nail guns, but I saw that the boys were also a bit scared as well,” Ms Wilkinson said

She swaps goals and ideas with friends doing introductory engineering training at TAFE.

“We encourage each other and are proud that we are doing stuff that is being recognised,” Ms Wilkinson said.

“Hey, I even made front page of the paper (The North West Star, September 3).

TAFE Queensland North teacher Vaughan Wakefield said he nominated her for the award because she was innovative and independent.

“She is normally swinging off the power saws and nail guns when the boys are standing back,” he said.

Award winners will be announced at the CSQ Excellence Awards on Friday, November 13.

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