Acclaim for our first women in power

Two former Northland women have become the first in New Zealand to qualify as cable jointers in the electricity sector.

Dargaville's Robyn Dawes, 25, and Whangarei's Aroha McLean, 43, both now based in Auckland, are formally certified cable jointers after doing three-year apprenticeships.

Along the way they have broken a barrier and say they want other women to follow.

Despite having a degree in IT, Ms Dawes said it was a chance sighting of a newspaper advertisement that led her to a new career in the electricity sector.

It was the same paper, same ad and same result for her colleague.

Ms McLean said it has been an immensely satisfying journey so far - one she plans to continue for many years.

Northpower's business support general manager Barbara Harrison said the women's achievement was impressive.

"They have added so much to our team because they bring skills to the work group which helps unlock the potential of others," Ms Harrison said.

Both women have completed their training under the academic guidance of the Electricity Supply Industry Training Organisation (ESITO).

Their achievement, and that of other women working in the power supply industry nationally, has been applauded by Minister of Women's Affairs, Jo Goodhew.

Ms Goodhew met the two newly qualified cable jointers at this week's launch of a report into women working in the industry under the ESITO-sponsored campaign, Ultimit (formerly Women in Power), an initiative opening pathways for women into the traditionally male-dominated industry.

"I acknowledge the nine women who embarked on this journey and the five women who have completed their tickets - what a journey and what an achievement. When I read some of their comments and experiences in the report the hair stood up on the back of my neck," Ms Goodhew said.

"What tenacity these women have shown and such strength in negotiating this new territory for women.

"Most importantly these women have helped pave the way for other women, too, to experience the benefits of working in the electricity supply industry."

- Northern Advocate

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