Grandad’s love of the industry inspires Bundy’s first female water trainee

Grandad’s love of the industry inspires Bundy’s first female water trainee

Grandad’s love of the industry inspires Bundy’s first female water trainee
Date: 24-Feb-2022

Tia Golding always knew she wanted a traineeship and kept her eye on opportunities to become a diesel fitter or auto electrician while working as a bartender, hostel night manager and doing Quality Assurance at a packing shed once she finished school.  When a water industry traineeship came up with Bundaberg Regional Council in 2021, Tia grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

“My grandad is an electrician who has worked in the water industry for most of his life, first working at treatment plants and then helping to design and commission plants,” Tia said. 

“People often start out loving their job and then realise later on that they don’t enjoy it anymore, but I knew my grandad still loved his job after all these years, so I thought it must be a good industry to work in.”

Asked about her favourite part of the job, Tia says she enjoys testing the water in the laboratory and being able to read the results to see how the plant is running.

“When I was in high school, we completed a Science in Practice unit where students tested the water at different locations from Gin Gin where there was no salt to the mouth of the Burnett River where there was a lot of salt,” Tia recalls.

“I found this really interesting and looking back now, it amazes me that we were never told about jobs in the water industry – you hear about jobs as lawyers, teachers, doctors, but never about being a water industry worker, which is an essential service that our communities couldn’t live without.”

Tia suggests more work could be done to attract school leavers to the industry, keeping in mind that all students are different.

“Some students may enjoy listening to a presentation from someone working in the industry, but personally I would prefer to go on a site visit to see it for myself. I really enjoyed a recent visit to the new Gregory River Water Treatment Plant that was under construction at the end of 2021,” she said.

One of the most surprising things Tia has learned so far has been the different kinds of water treatment plants and what they do – from limestone beds to stop hardness and all the other interesting chemical reactions to produce clean drinking water.

“I didn’t realise how much work goes on in the background to make clean drinking water. Before I started my traineeship, I never even noticed the treatment plants as I drove around Bundaberg, but now I see them everywhere! It has been great to learn more about the different plants and to have the satisfaction at the end of the day that you are making the water that people can drink,” she said.

“For now, I’m only working on water treatment plants but as part of my Cert III in Water Industry Operations I will be trained in sewerage treatment as well.”

As the first female water industry trainee at Bundaberg Regional Council, Tia is embracing the challenges of the role.

“As a female I sometimes struggle to open really tight valves, and because I’m quite short it can be challenging to reach certain things, but other than that I can pretty much do everything the boys can do,” she said.

While Tia doesn’t have a clear career path and dream role she aspires to, she sees the industry as a means to get a variety of jobs in different locations.

“I would love to go and work out West on different treatment plants and to keep learning and just see where it takes me. The skills I’m learning now are universal and can be used in many different roles. It’s exciting not to know where I’ll end up but just to enjoy the journey.”

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