Published on Dec 1, 2020

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Equal opportunity at Cessnock Toyota

Stephanie Nella is one of a rare group of female mechanics in a heavily male dominated industry.

Stephanie’s passion for cars started when she would help her father when he was conducting light service on his own car – inspiring young Stephanie to take that career path years later.

Stephanie started as an apprentice back in 2013 at Cessnock Toyota and has worked her way to becoming fully qualified Diagnostic Technician. In that time she has finished her trade apprenticeship in 2017 and gained extensive knowledge on Toyota and Kia vehicles through on-going training with the company.

Although Stephanie has become an important asset to Cessnock Toyota, she says that her journey was not an easy one.

“Some of the challenges that I faced early on included trying to fit in, constantly striving to prove myself to the team and finding my own way, but luckily I have made some good mates with a team who work well together. It’s all about being a part of the team and knowing your self-worth” she says.

Stephanie has also become a role-model for other young girls completing their work experience at the service centre through their high school, who have dreams of commencing the same career path. She advises the students and tells the girls who demonstrate the same passion she once felt to be fearless and to do whatever they want in life, push boundaries, and prove everyone wrong.

Sophie Bartlett, a 16-year old student from Kurri Kurri High School, recently completed her work experience at Cessnock Toyota under the guidance of the service team. It was a brilliant opportunity for Sophie to gain some firsthand exposure, as well as get some invaluable advice from Stephanie as a trailblazer in the industry.

On finishing her work experience, Sophie showed great interest to begin her apprenticeship once finishing her High School Certificate at the end of next year. Simon Louis, the Group Service Manager at Cessnock Automotive, says that everyone in the service team looks forward to seeing Sophie’s application when the time comes.

Simon is constantly searching for new talent for the group. He has worked with the local high schools at Kurri Kurri, Cessnock, Mountview and the Hunter Trade College to offer work experience programs to kids who show interest in pursuing a career as a mechanic.

“We care about giving opportunities to young kids who show enthusiasm and perseverance to prove they want to complete their apprenticeship with us. We offer equal opportunities to all who apply regardless of gender, cultural background or any other factors that limited people’s opportunities in the past, we’re just searching for kids with great work ethics and a positive attitude.” says Simon.