International Women’s Day: sparkie flicks the switch for women in male-dominated industry

Mel Moore of Bayswater, Electrician and Director of Generation Electrical Maintenance (GEM). Picture: David Baylis d480136
Mel Moore of Bayswater, Electrician and Director of Generation Electrical Maintenance (GEM). Picture: David Baylis d480136

SAFE to say when Mel Moore met her boyfriend John Blight sparks flew.

The electricians met when John was finishing his apprenticeship and Mel was at the brink of starting her own business – GEM Generation Electrical Maintenance.

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With International Women’s Day, the 28-year-old explained how she fell into a seemingly male-dominated industry.

“I was always a practical girl growing up, and living on a small farm in the South West of England I helped my parents tend to the many sheep, pigs, cows, ducks and chickens,’’ she said.

Renovations at the farm saw her dad transform the stables into holiday houses and the Mill building into a house, something which not only impressed Mel but gave her an opportunity to get her hands dirty.

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“I always wanted to be outside helping, so I grew up around tradespeople all my life,” she said.

“When it came to deciding what I wanted to do with my future, my Dad suggested a trade and it just seemed a logical decision for me.

“I don’t think I was really aware at the time of how unusual it was for woman to work in trades.”

Nowadays, she’s breaking down any stereotypes associated with being a sparkie.

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“I think people have an incorrect assumption of woman who work in trades,’’ she said.

“You know, an image of girls with a pie and iced coffee in hand, wearing stubby shorts.

“I love the opportunity to get dressed up and go out, I’m actually off to the 40 under 40 gala awards which I am really looking forward to.

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“I have my hair and make up booked and have bought a stunning blue evening gown to wear.”

Mel said while working a trade might not seem like a viable option to many girls leaving school, it should be.

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“To be honest I think unfortunately a lot of women have a very limited knowledge of what working in a trade is actually about, it isn’t something that is promoted at school age or really talked about,” she said.

“The benefits of working in a trade are tenfold, from meeting new people every day to getting to travel all over WA.

“I would recommend a trade any day of the week. You get paid to learn and don’t end up with a heap of debt, just an awesome paying and rewarding qualification at the end of your time.”

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