Meet our panelists & find out what inspired them to get into a trade

Women in Trades are proud to be convening a panel of tradeswomen for a careers talk with secondary school students at Auckland's largest girls school.

The panel will share their training and trades journeys and provide insight to the students about what a trades job entails and the opportunities and challenges they have faced.

Here is some background on these trailblazing women and the fantastic companies' making their dreams come true...

Alana Davies - Apprentice Drainlayer with JT Plumbing

What inspired you to pursue a trade? My Dad! He's has been my biggest inspiration for getting into the trades, he's always encouraged me to give things a go, plus operating a digger and being outdoors sounded perfect!

What do you love most about your work? I love being challenged, and with Drain-laying I'm challenged both mentally and physically everyday.

Who are JT Plumbing? JT specializes in environmentally safe and sound solutions in plumbing, drainage, solar and gas to people in the Bay of Plenty.
We have a passionate crew of awesome Plumbers and Drainlayers who love what they do and are firm believers in providing services with a smile! Our team not only works enthusiastically together, but are each highly capable Plumbers and Drainlayers in their own right.

Find out more about them at:


Jackie Mason - Master Plumber at Mason Plumbing

What inspired you to pursue a trade? My dad, he is also a plumber and he and mum always encouraged me to do what I enjoyed.

What do you love most about your work? Never knowing what you are doing next and weather you are indoors or outside.

Who are Mason Plumbing? Mason Plumbing do all sort of plumbing small or big. New or repairs.

Find out more about them at:


Toni Rhind, Apprentice Mechanical Engineer - Pacific Steel

What inspired you to pursue a trade? I have always had an interest in how machinery mechanically work and operate. Growing up around my grandfather who loved fixing things gave me the ambition to pursue a career in Mechanical Engineering.

What do you love the most about your work? Being able to work alongside people who thrive to help me learn and achieve things. Being faced with new challenges every day and maintaining or fixing machinery and their components on a daily basis.

Who are Pacific Steel? Established in 1959, Pacific Steel NZ Limited is a heavy manufacturing business which manufacturers over 250,000 tons of steel reinforcing and wire products each year to the domestic market as well as various export markets. We operate a 24/5 operation based in South Auckland and consist of 170 employees distributed between our two manufacturing sites and support teams.

Find out more about them at:


Elaine Pereira, Apprentice Light Vehicle Technician - Trucks & Trailers

Image provided by  MITO

Image provided by MITO

What inspired you to pursue a trade? The realisation that I could do anything if I set my mind to it. I was at home one day and I was having problems with my car. Upset at the fact that i would have to pay someone else a lot of money to get it fix I wished I could just fix it myself. That's when it dawned on me, I can fix it myself... I just need to learn how!

I was very skeptical about my decision but the very next day I enrolled in a Pre-Trade course at Unitec. I was ready to take on any challenges that were ahead of me and I had the support of my family to do so, so nothing was going to stop me from succeeding.

What do you love the most about your work? I'm somewhat addicted to solving problems. Any problem, doesn't matter what it is, I'm all in. So what I love most about my job is the fact that nearly every day a vehicle comes in with a problem. My job is to figure out how to solve the problem and get our customers back on the road as soon as possible. I don't mind getting dirty and I love learning more about every new component of a vehicle. From the engine itself to the electical components, that stuff gets me excited.

Find out more about them at:

Keep an eye out for our overview of the panel discussion. If you are interested in having a similar trades career talk at your school then please get in touch!

Want to hear more from our panelists? Find out about their biggest misconceptions about life on the tools & the advice they wish they had been given.