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Sky's the limit – Guiding girls to careers in demand

27 Oct 2017

The smiling faces of Noble Park’s Girl Guides lit up an inescapably gloomy afternoon earlier in the week (25 October) as they received a unique look into one of Victoria’s biggest projects during a visit from Level Crossing Removal Project engineer Kate Saggers.

The visit was organised as a ‘thank you’ gesture for the Guides, aged five to fifteen, who have contributed a magnificent selection of artwork to brighten up temporary hoardings around Noble Park station.

Construction is well underway at Noble Park to remove three level crossings and rebuild the station.

For Kate, who has worked in engineering for six years, the visit was also a small but important way to inspire the next generation of budding engineers, a profession both highly in demand while lacking female representation.

Describing herself as “always interested in being practical and making things work” she said the job had always seemed like a natural fit.

Raelene Curtis, an assistant district manager with the Guides, said the visit had sparked a lot of interest.

“A couple of the 14 year olds really pricked their ears up. They are starting to think now about their future and it will be really good for them to speak to a female engineer,” said Raelene.

She said seeing the achievements of the girls as they grow up was one of the most rewarding parts of her nearly 50 years with the organisation.

“Girl Guides is about life skills and skills for life,” she said, adding that the organisation gave girls a positive avenue to pursue their own interests while developing community spirit and leadership abilities.

Raelene gave the example of one girl who’d always wanted to be a vet.

“She did all her community service at an animal shelter and just kept persevering through a science degree until she gained entry into the course she needed. That girl is now a fully qualified practitioner, and I’m sure somewhere along the line the Guides had something to do with that.”

Kate said the best part of her job was making a difference to others by helping to build or improve something that would be around for many years to come.

“I have been lucky in my career to work on various projects from buildings to bridges and roads. My speciality is dealing with complicated situations and making things work and fall into place.”

Reflecting the community they are in, Noble Park’s Guides are an international bunch, with girls and leaders hailing from countries including India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. A dedicated group for girls from Afghanistan has just started off under the mentorship of a local community leader.

Meanwhile Raelene is keen to put the word out for those interested in becoming not only a girl guide but for over-18s interested in becoming a leader.

“The leaders are all volunteers but the rewards are worth it,” she said.

Contact Guides Victoria on 8606 3500 or visit their website.

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