Jasmyn Smith always knew it would be difficult to be an electrician in a male-dominated profession, but she was never aware just how difficult it would really be.
The 20-year-old from Launceston had no brothers, but always had tomboy tendencies. Growing up in a family where her mother rode dirt bikes and her father was forever encouraging her to use her hands to build things, it is perhaps not altogether surprising that she chose the career path she did.
Educated at Kings Meadows High School she recalls how she always loved wiring things, and that she wanted to be a joiner or something to do with the ‘trade’. Jasmyn’s father is an electrician himself, so it was more or less inevitable that she chose that as a career.
After leaving high school, Jasmyn applied for three apprenticeships over three years, but two years in a row the jobs went to the boss’s sons. Eventually however, Jasmyn got lucky and applied successfully for an apprenticeship with Degree-C, where she is now eight months into her first year of a four-year apprenticeship. It was a long process, and Jasmyn recalls failing the test the first time around. Even sitting the test in itself was a challenge, with only seven out of 50 applicants getting the opportunity to sit it. Jasmyn was the only female.
“I felt really intimidated because I knew a lot of the boys that were sitting the test were smart,” she laughed.
TAFE Tasmania was a wonderful support to Jasmyn, helping her with algebra (an area in which she admits she struggled) but she got to re-sit the test. All the hard work and determination paid off – Jasmyn was one of only two people who finally got through.
Passing the test and being accepted was only the beginning of the challenges Jasmyn would face. She says she wasn’t aware of how physically demanding the job would be, and that she had to build up a lot of strength. There were a lot of times she just wanted to give up because her body just wasn’t strong enough. The boys on site were great however, and would help her a lot when they saw her struggling with things such as big ladders. But not surprisingly, with her character, Jasmyn was determined to do things without help.
The challenges haven’t always been just physical. When she first got the job, the bosses made an effort to be nice and respectful to her – now they treat her like any other employee. With a laugh she remembers being given her first work uniform – being made for men it was way too big and she had to have some specifically made to fit.
She is the first female to ever work for Degree-C and has travelled around many worksites.
“People definitely check me out when they see there’s a female on the worksite,” she said.
In her spare time, Jasmyn DJs in clubs, and has dreams of moving to England to run her own company but needs an extra year of study tp do this. No doubt one day this determined and inspiring young lady will let nothing stand in her way of doing exactly that.