• Waikato Women in Engineering

    Feb 2021 - News

    Since the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF) was announced in 2019, trade apprenticeships have nearly doubled - almost 14,000 in 2020 compared to 7,500 in 2019. But of that 14,000, still only 1,785 are women. In 2019, 845 of the apprentices were women.

    WECA caught up with two local women in engineering, Annemarie Domper from Mainline Sheetmetals and Azaria Weston from Longveld Ltd, to find out more.


    Annemarie Domper
    Sheet Metal Fabricator at Mainline Sheetmetals

     Annemarie has been with Mainline Sheetmetals for 4 years and has recently completed her Level 4 Engineering Light Fabrication Apprenticeship with plans to start her Level 5 in 2021.

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    How did you get into engineering?

     “When I left school, I went around and handed my CV in to all the engineering places – just because I liked to make stuff. I didn’t want to work in a shop or anything like that. I got my first job as a brake press operator in Dannevirke.”


    What do you enjoy about your job?

     “I’m pretty lucky because I get to do all sorts – I do a lot of the aluminium and stainless welding here. I also do a lot of ducting with thin gauge sheet metals. The best part is seeing what you make – and getting to use your brain to solve problems along the way.”


    What are your future career ambitions?

    “I hope I’ll be here as long as I’m in Hamilton! I quite like it – obviously! I’m going back to study this year to do my Level 5 and continue learning and growing in the trade”


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    What do you think about these numbers of women in apprenticeships? Why do you think it’s so low?

     “I’m not sure if the apprenticeships aren’t being offered or women don’t know they’re available or if they’re just not inclined to take them. The more women that come into the engineering trade, the better. It will become the norm and be less daunting for both the employer and the women going into the trade.”




    Azaria Weston
    Apprentice at Longveld Ltd

    Azaria started at Longveld as a Labourer shortly after lockdown, through the government initiative Mana in Mahi. The former Tauranga Girls College student moved to Hamilton to study and completed her Level 3 at Wintec.


    IMG 4788 Why did you decide to get into engineering?

     “I wanted to do something different. When I was at school, it just felt like I wasn’t learning the right things – I wanted to get out there and do something. I never saw myself set for uni!”


    What do you enjoy about your job?

    “I really enjoy seeing the end product, watching the processes and seeing it all the way through.”


     What are your future career ambitions? 

    “I’d love to be able to travel for work. Experiencing different cities – even countries! Just enjoying yourself while making money. That’s the dream!”

    Azaria has just been signed up for her apprenticeship at Longveld and is excited about building her career!


    What do you think about these numbers of women in apprenticeships? Why do you think it’s so low?

    “I was in a lot of music groups and when we went down to the Boy’s college, they would say they’d be doing things like engineering and woodwork – and we didn’t have any of that! They had workshop and metal technology and we had cooking and textiles – I was shocked! It was only a few years ago. I felt like it was really unfair”

    “When I went to the polytech in Tauranga to check out the fabrication courses, I was told that it ‘wasn’t for me’ and I needed to do more research. I thought there had to be more doors to open up so I moved here!”

    “I think we need to educate women and girls more on what they’ll be getting into, and encourage women to explore their options and think about engineering.”


    IMG 4776What would be your advice to other women thinking about a career in the trades or engineering?

     “My advice would be to just go for it! There are so many trades and so many things to do. Look into it and do your research, there are so many resources out there. And then just do it!”


    Mana in Mahi is a government scheme designed to help support young people into full time work, offering wage subsidies, employer support, employee incentives and contributing towards the cost of training. If you’re interested in finding out more about Mana in Mahi or hiring a young person, get in touch with us – we’re here to help! Email Sally at to find out more.

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