STANDOUT Alcoa employee Sharron Freitas took home two prestigious industry awards from the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy Women in Resources Awards.
The North Yunderup resident outclassed contenders from Chevron and Rio Tinto to win the Outstanding Operator/Technician/Trade Woman in Resources category and took home the People’s Choice award.
The Women in Resources Awards recognise individual excellence and outstanding contributions to WA’s resources sector and serve to promote positive role models to young women considering a career in the industry.
Ms Freitas said the key to her success was a strong work ethic, flexibility, giving and earning respect and contributing to a happy and safe workplace.
“Early on in my career I thought the barriers were going to occur due to the lack of gender diversity at work but this just wasn’t a factor, it’s the technical side of things keeping me on my toes,” she said.
“I hope my story is inspirational to young women considering their employment options, as this industry, and Alcoa especially, is so supportive of women.”
Throughout her life, Ms Freitas has been fascinated by new things and after raising three children, owning a small business, undertaking university studies and representing WA in touch football, the next chapter in her life in 2011 was working in the resources sector.
After entering the industry five years ago through a traineeship at Pinjarra alumina refinery, she quickly showed the key to success was having the determination to learn new things and the drive to overcome obstacles.
She obtained her Certificate III in Process Plant Operations in 2012, four months ahead of schedule, and then secured a full-time operator role at the refinery’s bauxite mills where she worked with industrial grinders, crushers and conveyors used to grind and transport the ore.
Within six months of becoming a full-time operator, Ms Freitas was appointed the refinery’s first female mills control attendant.
Over the next few years and with the aim of developing her leadership skills, she pursued a range of secondment opportunities with the most recent as Operations Centre Group Leader where she manages 21 people across five work crews.