From horses to hairdressing and cars, Warrnambool teen Briannah Parker proves gender is no barrier when it comes to career choices.
The 2017 Mortlake College graduate is forging a new path in territory traditionally reserved for males.
The 18-year-old is the first female mechanic to be employed at Will Ferris Automotive Repairs and, according to the owners, she won’t be the last.
“She’s clean and tidy, she gets the job done without fuss and for someone who’s only worked with her dad and brother before, what she knows about cars is pretty amazing,” Manager Andrew Ferris said.
Briannah said the motor industry was a far cry from her earlier dreams of joining a predominantly female occupation.
“When I was younger I wanted to be a hairdresser,” she said. “But I did my sister’s hair for a formal and I didn’t really like even touching hair so I said ‘I’m changing’.”
The Bushfield woman said she’d always enjoyed working with horses like her mum but it was her father’s occupation that sparked a dream of becoming a mechanic.
“Dad used to be a mechanic and Buddy (her brother) was always tinkering with cars at home,” she said.
“So when I was old enough to start working on cars it just changed what I wanted to do.”
Briannah and her sister Sarah grew up surrounded by boys, having five younger brothers sharing the family home.
“I guess being surrounded by boys at home means it’s not weird working around them all day at work,” she said. “I don’t think they treat me any differently.”
Despite only being in the role for six weeks now, Briannah said she hoped to become a role model for future young women wanting to enter the automotive industry.
“I love this job because it’s hands-on,” she said. “I work hard and I enjoy learning from Will and Andrew. I feel like they always support me.”
The launch into a male-dominated industry has meant Briannah now wants to encourage her female counterparts to follow their dreams, regardless of gender traditions.
“I think women should always follow what they want to do and never hold back,” she said.
Briannah is hosting her first workshop later this month, instructing women in motor maintenance.
I think women should always follow what they want to do and never hold back.Briannah Parker
Gallery face-lift to mark women’s fight to vote
Warrnambool artists Danielle O’Brien and Marie Cook are using a face-lift as an excuse to mark an historical women’s fight.
The pair have been kept busy designing the upgraded facade of the Warrnambool Art Gallery.
The renovation, Once women won the vote is expected to be completed by May.
Inspired by the 1891 ‘Monster Petition’ in Victoria, the artwork will mark the time in history when Warrnambool’s women fought for the right to vote.