Gunnedah's Georgia Foley has been recognised for helping break down barriers for women working in traditionally male-dominated roles.
Two weeks ago, Georgia won the Woman in Non-Traditional Trade Apprentice/Trainee of the Year in the Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT Group Training Awards.
A week earlier, on October 9, Georgia won the Special Award for a Woman in a Non-Traditional Trade or Vocation in the NSW Training Awards.
From a young age, Georgia was drawn to a hands-on career after years of helping her father out on the family farm in all areas of machine maintenance, manual farm labour and electrical work.
In 2016, Georgia applied for an electrical apprenticeship with HVTC North West while hosted to Whitehaven Coal, during which she gained experience at Whitehaven's four mining operations in the Gunnedah Coal Basin.
During her apprenticeship, Georgia had the opportunity to complete three months of training off-site with another employer in Tamworth, allowing her to build on her electrical skills in a domestic/commercial environment.
HVTC chief executive officer Sharon Smith said this was one of the advantages of completing an apprenticeship with a group training organisation, such as HVTC.
"During her time with us, Georgia was able to be rotated to another employer for three months to gain exposure to the electrical trade in a new environment," Ms Smith said.
"As a woman in a non-traditional trade I definitely faced some challenges throughout my apprenticeship, but I always gave it my all. I just love what I do and the people I got to work with.Georgia Foley
"In doing so, Georgia was able to broaden her knowledge and skillset and bring that experience back to her role at Whitehaven, helping her become a more rounded and confident apprentice.
"Georgia is certainly a role model for other young people in rural and regional communities, especially women, thinking about pursuing a trade career.
"Her success is a testament to the hard work she put in throughout her training and is proof that vocational pathways can lead to successful careers. On behalf of HVTC I'd like to wish her well in her future career endeavours."
Georgia said she was shocked to even win Apprentice of the Year at the New England Training Awards, let alone winning an award at state level.
"I watched the awards at home with my family and there was definitely a lot of cheering and jumping around," she said.
"As a woman in a non-traditional trade I definitely faced some challenges throughout my apprenticeship, but I always gave it my all. I just love what I do and the people I got to work with.
"My advice to other young women thinking about a trade career is to just put yourself out there and go for it."
Since completing her apprenticeship Georgia has been working at Narrabri Coal Operations with a local contractor but just last week was offered a role directly with Whitehaven Coal.
The 22-year-old plans to continue studying and learning and has even put forward the idea to study engineering down the track and potentially work towards becoming a deputy underground.