Apprentice mechanic Tegan Muirhead recognised for breaking down gender stereotypes

Published: 18 Jun 2019 4:18pm

Tegan Muirhead said fear had initially held her back from becoming a diesel mechanic.

But the young Wagga Wagga City Council apprentice is now inspiring other women to take the risk and to help break down gender stereotypes across male-dominated industries.

Ms Muirhead shared a message of encouragement to other budding tradies, following the 2019 Minister's Awards for Women in Local Government presentation in Sydney on Thursday, June 6.

The future mechanic said she was shocked when she heard of her nomination and even more so when it was revealed she had received a highly commended award in the Women in a Non-Traditional Role category for regional and rural areas.

Ms Muirhead said she had always been covered in dirt and grease and fixing things with her dad on their family farm at Hillston.

“Dad, my younger sister and I did harvest between the three of us last season,” Ms Muirhead said. “We were harvesting the crop and fixing breakdowns and all that.”

The 25-year-old said her experiences growing up had made her a jack-of-all-trades.

Ms Muirhead said she had worked two jobs before deciding to take on further education.

“I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a mechanic at first, but one month in I knew it was for me,” she said.

“I was worried at first because I thought people wouldn’t be supportive - being little old me among all these blokes - but everyone I’ve met has gotten behind me and barracked for me to finish this.

“That’s what I’m going to do.”

To other young woman considering a career in a male-dominated field, the 25-year-old said “take the plunge”.

Wagga Wagga City Council General Manager Peter Thompson and Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr applauded Ms Muirhead.

“In her role, Tegan is able to get hands-on experience by helping maintain around 2000 items of plant and equipment at the Alan Turner Depot,” Mr Thompson said.

“I would like to commend Tegan for her efforts and dedication to her apprenticeship.

“At Council, we encourage women to consider non-traditional roles and to pursue their passion. Our Workplace Diversity Strategy promotes diversity and inclusiveness, builds respect and recognises the true potential of all our employees.”

Dr McGirr said it had been a pleasure meeting Ms Muirhead and her father last week at the awards.

“It’s inspiring to see the fantastic influence young women like Tegan are having on future generations across our electorate,” Dr McGirr said.

“They’re breaking down barriers and defying age-old gender norms and conquering traditionally male-dominated industries.

“It was great to personally meet and congratulate Tegan at the presentation last week, and I would also like to commend councils like ours, as well as the NSW Minister for Local Government, in supporting initiatives like these, that foster, build-up and recognise women, taking on leadership roles and making an impact across our communities.”

Ms Muirhead’s achievement will be officially recognised at an upcoming Council meeting.