Article

Traineeships in a Male Dominated Environment


WORK180Aug 16, 2019

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Tammie Fuller is a Trainee Technician in the VIC & TAS Field Operations team at nbn, where she’s part of a team working hard to rollout the nbn™ access network to homes and businesses nationwide. At 39 years old, she’s older than the average trainee, is one of three women in the trainee group of 12 and spends a lot of her time well outside her comfort zone.

We talked with Tammie about succeeding in a male-dominated industry, spending time outside your comfort zone and doing meaningful work.

Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone

Tammie spends much of her workday in the field helping to connect homes and businesses to Australia's broadband network. Despite being relatively new to this line of work, Tammie enjoys the learning opportunities the role offers her.

“Every day is so different and even the guys who have been doing it for 20 years need to learn new technologies. Everybody's in the same boat.”

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Tammie says she has a level of pride that makes her want to succeed and prove to herself that she can do it. She is a hard worker excited about learning new skills and improving her career prospects.

“I want to achieve something. I want to have a better life, a better career, earn more money.”

Tammie is well-supported despite being out of her comfort zone. There are formal education programs and each trainee is part of a field team, assigned a direct line manager alongside mentors who train them on projects during the week.

nbn is focussed on bringing more women into the trainee program and is actively seeking out a more diverse workforce. Tammie is excited to be part of that change.

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Making Meaning of Your Work

Tammie finds purpose and meaning in the broader nbn mission of lifting Australia’s digital capability. She told me a story that resonated with her;

“There are kids living more than 300 kilometres from the nearest town in the middle of a cattle station and the internet is how they go to school.”

Succeeding in a Male Dominated Environment

Tammie is one of the few female field technicians working in Victoria, but has found that she fits right in, saying;

“I’ve felt nothing but welcome.”

She is confident that women can do the job and that this is a great opportunity for women to enter the telecommunications industry; there is a lot of field work and the team all work well together to get the job done. When there are occasional jobs outside her physical capability (like lifting something too heavy) the men she works with are happy to jump in and help and similarly if there are fiddly connections which Tammy can complete more easily she will work with her male colleagues to return the favour, it’s all about team work, getting the job done right and delivering great customer service.

She suggests maintaining a sense of humour can be helpful and thinks generational shifts are causing changes in male-dominated areas. She notes that the men she joined may have also felt a bit nervous, having never worked with a woman in the field before. Everyone is finding their feet and wanting to make it work.

“It's a very warm culture, everyone has been amazing.. I actually find it more of a challenge doing something totally out of my comfort zone than being one of a few women.”

Tammie says it’s great that nbn are focusing on bringing women into the nbn trainee environment.

“Last year’s trainee program was all boys. This year there were three girls. Who knows, maybe next time, there'll be an all-girl one!”

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When discussing how nbn can attract more women into field work, Tammie says her experience working as an nbn trainee has shown her that nbn is flexible, you get to work both indoors and out, everybody's engaged with the purpose of helping to connect Australia to services over the nbn™ access network, you get autonomy in a welcoming culture and it's rewarding.

“It is a great working environment; more women should be involved.”

nbn is recruiting Customer Field Specialist roles right now with opportunities across Australia. Click here for more information.

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About the author

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