Apprentice technician goes from two wheels to more

Growing up around trucks and motorcycles, dirt bike racer Belinda Fonda is achieving goals as she embarks on a four-year apprenticeship as a diesel technician and auto electrician.

Fonda’s passion for motors started very early. She got into dirt bikes when she was around 11 years old and more recently competed in the Senior Ladies class at local club events on the back of her Honda CRF 150cc two-wheeler.

“A few years ago I got into dirt bike racing after attending a ‘come and try’ day on International Women’s Day at the Broadford track. I met a few women there who, like me, were passionate about running.

She took that passion and now pursues it as a career. Having started as a light engine apprentice, working on motorcycles, Fonda has now moved on to something much bigger – and we mean that literally.

You will now find her stationed at Scania’s Campbellfield branch in Melbourne, next to Scania’s Dealer Support Centre.

“I’m learning to manage with the cables. The diesel hardware is simple, but the wiring is new,” said Fonda, who is only a few weeks into her apprenticeship.

Although it’s early days, Fonda says she’s fitting in quickly.

“We were right on the tools and walked into them. There are a few other apprentices and there is a good atmosphere. I look forward to learning a lot about Scania technology.

“There’s a good structure in the way Scania looks after and encourages its apprentices, starting with the basics, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot already,” she said.

Eventually, once she is fully qualified, Fonda’s goal is to work on trucks in the mines.

As today is International Women’s Day, Scania celebrates the achievements of its female team members. “Scania is very keen to welcome more women into our business across all of our businesses, from technicians to customer-facing roles,” said Michele Gellatly, Scania’s Director of Human Resources and Culture.

At Scania Australia, women make up 16.5% of the workforce. The company notes that there has been an increase in the number of women it sees moving into roles such as technicians, apprentice technicians and joining parts and warehouse teams.

Although Scania has a good representation of women in leadership positions, the company says there is always more to do.

“We have been successful in attracting women to the workshop for many years. As a multinational company, we strive to achieve a better gender balance in our activities,” added Gellatly.