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Feature Article

The right fit

After four and a half years as a parts interpreter at Prestige Commercial Vehicles Invercargill, Hannah Mesman is right where she wants to be.

Having spent countless hours with her dad as a child, helping to renovate old cars well past their glory days, Hannah decided pretty early on that she wanted to become a mechanic. It didn’t quite turn out like that, but she does have a Certificate in Automotive Engineering from the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) and couldn’t be happier in her current role.

“I really enjoy my job,” says Hannah. “Every day is different. It’s fantastic.

“There weren’t many opportunities to get an apprenticeship when I finished at SIT; only about half of my class got them from the workshops where they did work experience. There wasn’t much else about at the time.”

Hannah saw an advert for the position of Parts Interpreter at PCV and, with an interest in the parts side of the automotive industry from her part-time job at Supercheap Auto, she applied.

“I just thought ‘that looks interesting, I can do the job’. That was four and a half years ago – time flies!”

As the only girl in her class at SIT, Hannah had no hesitation about working in a male-dominated environment.

“My classmates were always really supportive of me – they didn’t really think much about the fact I was female. I’ve pretty much found that to be the case at work, too.

“I think by and large, younger generations don’t really think twice about your gender affecting what job you can do.

“To be fair, I haven’t really come across anyone, young or old, who has commented on my ability to do the job. At worst, you get some older guys a bit surprised to find themselves asking for a trunnion rebuild kit from a woman, but that’s about it.

“I’ve built up some good relationships over the years. This industry is full of passionate people, and once they can see you know your stuff, they’re all good. ”

Hannah says that it’s often other women she meets who are most shocked to discover what she does.

“There’s a perception among a lot of women that trucking is a male industry. I think they just need to see and hear about more of us in these types of roles and I believe perceptions will start to change. It would be cool to see more women in service advisor or technical advisor roles – you don’t see too many of them.

“For any women who might be thinking about getting into the industry, I’d say don’t hesitate! Don’t worry about what people might think about you, because you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised. If you can do the job, it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female.”

 

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