SHONA McGuigan was in labour giving birth to her first child when news broke that she was Victorian Apprentice of the Year.
The achievement took about a week to sink in for the 21-year-old plumber, who was occupied with baby daughter Poppy, now three weeks old.
"Now more than ever I feel I am role model for someone," Ms McGuigan told The Standard.
"I knew that there were other girls watching and wanting to pursue a career in a male dominated profession. But now I'm thrilled to be a role model for someone so important to me."
Ms McGugian received her award from Victorian Skills Minister Gayle Tierney on Thursday.
"She is obviously very good at what she does," Ms Tierney said.
"She is prepared also to promote the trades and also promote the fact women can also enter trades."
Ms McGuigan was the first female plumber to finish her apprenticeship with South West TAFE in recent history and the first female plumber at Warrnambool's Cri-tech Plumbing Services.
Since joining the workforce she's paved the way for a further two female apprentices to join the plumbing business, Cri-tech managing director Barry Warburton said.
"Shona was the main instigator of that," Mr Warburton said. "We thought 'why not? Shona has done so well'."
He said greater gender diversity in the male-dominated industry was the "way things are going".
"There's no reason why females can't do the job as well or better than anyone else. It's not male and female roles," Mr Warburton said.
Ms McGuigan said she had continued plumbing until 25 weeks pregnant and then did a desk job, giving her an opportunity to see more of the business.
She said being the first female plumber in her work was only daunting at first.
"We don't know if we will be trusted out in the workplace, but once you get past that barrier in Warrnambool it's a very supportive environment," Ms McGuigan said.
For her daughter, Ms McGuigan simply hopes she grows up to pursue her passions too. "I don't want her to have judgement put on her. I'd be proud of her no matter what for having crack."
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