Ashliegh gets hands dirty with 'hands-on course'

Ashliegh Woolerton at TAFE NSW Wetherill Park. Picture: Simon Bennett
Ashliegh Woolerton at TAFE NSW Wetherill Park. Picture: Simon Bennett

Ashliegh Woolerton grew up in a family where tinkering with cars in the garage often replaced a night watching television.

"I have fond memories working on cars with my father, Daniel and my older brother, Brad as I was growing up. Now we're continuing that on the rail lines," said Ashliegh, who works alongside her brother and father at Sydney Trains.

"At work I maintain the ballast cleaners, they are one of the machines used in the process of renewing the ballas, or rocks the tracks sit on. People call them the big ugly yellow machines.

"It's important to keep this machine maintained because it helps keep the train ride nice and smooth for the passengers."

The 23-year-olds foray into the world of heavy machinery mechanics is being assisted with her apprenticeship studying Certificate III Mobile Plant Technology at TAFE NSW Wetherill Park.

The second year student is getting her hands dirty working on some of the latest and largest machinery used across a number of industries.

"I really enjoy how at TAFE NSW we learn some theory in a classroom about a certain piece of machinery, and then we go out and start working on that same piece of machinery. We will completely dismantle it and rebuild it, so it's a really hands-on course," she said.

Ashliegh Woolerton at TAFE NSW Wetherill Park. Picture: Simon Bennett

Ashliegh Woolerton at TAFE NSW Wetherill Park. Picture: Simon Bennett

"I'm building on my practical skills and industry-specific knowledge, so I'm able to tackle most scenarios I'm faced with on the job."

TAFE NSW Head Teacher Bradley Hutchins said the equipment they have enables students to train on the latest heavy plant machinery such as earth moving machinery.

"We also deliver skills to apprentices working on mobile plant, heavy commercial vehicles, light automotive and automotive electrical," Mr Hutchins said.

"Our students are the ultimate beneficiaries of this fit-for-purpose facility, which provides high-quality, industry-relevant training."

Mr Hutchins said the new Western Sydney airport has created a huge demand for people with the skills to work on mobile plant.

"We have people from industry contacting us frequently asking to train people. The demand is there, and mobile plant mechanics can earn good money," he said.

  • For more information about courses at TAFE NSW visit tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.