FROM the initial spark of interest in a Year 7 woodworking class, to 2013 Wagga Wagga Campus Outstanding
Student of the Year, Maddison Castle has Shopfitting under her tool belt.
Growing up in a family of boys, Maddison was always an active, hands-on kid.
After trying out school woodworking classes in Year 7, she knew she wanted to become a shopfitter.
“My parents were a bit shocked at the start, but they were very encouraging and really supportive,” said Ms Castle.
Ms Castle began a traineeship with TAFE NSW Riverina Institute while she was completing Year 11 at high school.
“My whole experience at Riverina Institute was enjoyable; it was a great environment to go into. Everyone was there to learn, so it was a level playing field.
“Going into the course as the only female was a little bit intimidating to begin with, but it didn’t take long for my class to get used to me. Once you work with people every day you very quickly get treated as one of the boys!” said Ms Castle.
When it came to the workplace, Ms Castle quickly proved herself more than capable.
“Employers were initially worried I wouldn’t physically be strong enough. I was just honest when it came to what I could and couldn’t physically lift. It’s important to know your limits. I think my greatest asset is my natural attention to detail; as we need to be accurate to within 0.5 millimetres. I think women tend to be better at the finer details, which is hugely
important in Shopfitting.
“When you’re new, you want to make the best impression; there is a lot of pressure to be able to do things as well as
the boys. In the workplace, you are being compared to the other apprentices, you have to live up to their expectations”,
said Ms Castle.
Ms Castle has certainly done that, being named as the 2012 Most Successful Stage 1 Student in the Certificate III in Shopfitting, and a year later as the 2013 Wagga Wagga Campus Outstanding Student of the Year.
“If you’ve found what you want to do, go for it. There’s no reason why you can’t. Sheer will and determination will get you where you want to be,” said Ms Castle.
Ms Castle will be invited to represent Wagga Wagga Campus at the TAFE NSW Riverina Institute Awards for Excellence in April.