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Libby’s life as a new mum and first-year apprentice

Training and skills case study

Libby de Jong was a full-time event manager and a new mum when she decided to become an electrical apprentice.

With a two-year-old daughter and a successful career, the choice may have seemed unconventional to some. But for Libby, it was exactly what she had been searching for.

“I was working 9 to 5 in the office and had a great boss, but I still found myself feeling like it was not what I wanted to do,” explained Libby.

Case study - Libby de Jong

On top of being an area that fits with Libby’s interests, the electrical trades seemed well-suited to managing her time with a young family.

“I’ve found a much better work-life balance in this industry. I feel like every hour that I work I’m valued,” said Libby.

She adds, “I’m also paid quite well, even as an apprentice, which is essential with the financial responsibilities of parenthood.”

Before pursuing an electrical trade, Libby admits she was a little worried about the physical requirements of the role.

While she first thought this might set her back from other apprentices, it instead turned out to be a unique strength.

“I think as a female you do bring something different to the table. If I physically can’t do something I just have to think of other ways to do it,” says Libby.

“It can lead to alternative ideas, and ideas I’ve brought to the table have always been welcomed and considered.”

On-site from 7:00am to 3:00pm, the schedule of Libby’s apprenticeship has also slotted in perfectly around her other commitments.

“Having those extra couple hours in the afternoon has actually made our life much more manageable.”

Case study - Libby de Jong

One year into the course, Libby now finds herself surprised at how much she enjoys her new career as a tradesperson.

“I’m working on a building with 700 apartments, and the people I work with give me continued opportunities to develop my skills and knowledge,” says Libby.

Beyond the hands-on work, Libby has also embraced the educational part of her apprenticeship, overcoming her initial nerves about returning to a classroom setting.

“I’ve really enjoyed being taught a subject in the classroom and being able to apply this to my hands-on work.”

While becoming an electrician has been a big pivot from the corporate office, Libby wouldn’t have it any other way.  

For others thinking of making a change, she offers an important reminder: “Life is too short not to pursue something you want to do. Just go out there and do it.”