On June 20, the fifth annual Girls In Infrastructure event was held at Whangarei's Semenoff Stadium. The event was attended by around one hundred girls from schools located all over the Northland region. The objective of Girls In Infrastructure is to provide students with information on all aspects of the construction and infrastructure industries to which they have access, beginning with the operation of equipment and progressing all the way up to academic degrees. It’s an event that brings together many providers to showcase several career options that are open to women who are interested in the industry as well as the opportunity to speak with other women who are presently working in similar roles about their experiences and the path that led them to these careers.
The event that took place this year featured site visits, in addition to activity rotations with a variety of education providers, infrastructure businesses, and heavy machinery.
One of those large machines featured was a brand-new CAT 972 Wheel Loader that had been provided by TERRACat and specifically brought in for the Winstone Aggregates stand that was located outdoors. On the Winstone Aggregates stand inside the stadium; the girls were having a good time competing against one another to see who could load the most rock into some scales while operating a remote-control loader.
Off-site, they went to the Winstone Aggregates Otaika Quarry, which was a location that many of the participants were eager to see. They rarely get the opportunity to see the workings of a real quarry or any of the machinery that is used there. During the site trip, they had the opportunity to speak with Natalya Pussell, one of the women who work in Quarry Operations. She went into detail about what it was like to work in the quarry and operate a variety of pieces of heavy machinery, including articulated dump trucks and wheeled loaders.
Natalya started working for Winstone Aggregates when she was 20 years old, and she had no previous experience in driving heavy machinery or quarrying. She serves as living proof to the girls that a career in quarrying is attainable for them if that is the path that they wish to pursue.
During the time that they spent visiting the quarry, the girls obtained knowledge regarding the process that is used to produce aggregate, the various grades of aggregate that are available, the method that is used to process it, as well as the machinery and equipment that is utilised and operated on site.
Article: Luana Misa, Winstone Aggregates
Photo Credit: Dan FULLMOON Photography & Design