Aurizon’s Corinne Pidala shares her insights on her career as a Mechanical Tradesperson
Corinne is a Mechanical Tradesperson based at Aurizon’s Forrestfield Depot in Perth, Western Australia and is proud to be one of a number of women working in our rollingstock maintenance teams across Australia. Read Corinne’s story....
Corinne joined Aurizon as a Warehouse Storeperson, following which she made a brave change later in life to complete her Mechanical Fitter trade and now maintains our locomotives.
She shares her insights on her career and working in non-traditional roles to encourage other women to get into operations.
I’m originally from Carnarvon, in the north of Western Australia. My initial career was in in light vehicles as a parts interpreter and services adviser in the region, before moving to Perth to work in the automotive retail sector.
I joined Aurizon in 2017, and my career with the Company so far has taken me from initially working in the stores to completing a mechanical trade and maintaining locos. Soon I’ll also be taking on a short-term role coordinating our rollingstock wheel supply.
As a Storeperson at Aurizon, I was generally supplying the loco and wagon maintenance workshop with parts. At our Forrestfield depot, we have two stores (or warehouses) where we not only supply the site-based maintenance team with parts, but we also supply other regional depots with inventory.
A typical day can range from supplying or dispatching inventory and running parts through to unloading trucks, managing supplier site safety and stocktaking.
After being in the store for a couple of years, I was encouraged by my supervisor to apply for a maintenance apprenticeship that had become available. While I enjoyed the work and the team environment in the stores, I thought why not see what's involved and challenge myself!
The mechanics of locos
When the apprenticeship opportunity came up, my wife was pregnant and I wasn’t sure if starting an apprenticeship later in life was the right thing to do; though I thought if I make it through the recruitment process, I’ll give it a crack. Three years later I successfully completed my training and qualified as a Mechanical Fitter!
I love getting my hands dirty and working up close with the machinery. It can be overwhelming at first – particularly when you’re a small person like me, though you just need to be confident in yourself. The training and education you get helps you succeed at what you choose to do. There are tools and equipment to help you do your job to the best of your ability and you work together as a team to get the job done.
As a loco maintainer, I work alongside other maintainers and a team of electricians. We work across three shifts, doing scheduled loco servicing and some off-schedule maintenance or repairs. This can involve maintaining what’s inside the loco cabins through to checking the engines, the wheels and the brakes.
I’m also fortunate to be able to work flexibly in my role. When we had our child, I needed flexibility with my childcare arrangements. I approached my supervisor and together we came up with an approach that would meet both my needs and the operational needs of my team, which was brilliant.
Working flexibly is not always practical in operations, but if you don’t ask the question and talk to your leader about the possibilities, you won’t know what can be achieved or how you can manage your workload in a different way that suits you and the business.
Turning the wheels
I really enjoy working in logistics as well – it’s like having a puzzle where you’ve got to make things fit within certain timeframes, and you need to be ahead of the game. It always gets the cogs going!
Soon I’ll be taking on the role of Wheels Coordinator where I’ll be responsible for areas such as supplying/receiving wheels, organising the transport to different depots and vendors, wheel repairs and maintaining stock levels. I haven’t done this role before and saw it as a great opportunity to give a new challenge a go and try something different.
There are opportunities at Aurizon to go up in leadership levels on the floor, but there are also opportunities in other departments. I’ve found staying in touch with your networks across the business can help in finding out about different roles that you may want to do.
Jump on board!
If you want to be part of a big organisation where there are a range of opportunities, not only in your region but at sites across the country, then Aurizon might just be the workplace for you. You might come into the Company for a particular role like I did, but if you’re looking for new challenges, you have the opportunity to move up or to branch out into other areas of the business.
If you’re keen to get into operations or even change roles, give it a crack – you never know unless you try, and you’ve got to start somewhere. It’s good to bring different perspectives and experience from your previous roles!
I had no rail or loco experience and that doesn’t have to be a reason not to give it a go if you’re interested – it’s a great industry to get involved in!
To view current job opportunities available with Aurizon click here.