Melanie’s business story starts at the age of 15 when she helped her father convert old Mill buildings and stables into cottages and holiday lets while they lived in a caravan in England on a farm. At the age of 15 she wanted practical experience to start her career and so when her father mentioned being an electrician, she liked that idea.
She then did work experience for two different companies which both amazingly ended up offering her an apprenticeship. It was a hard choice for her to make but she chose the company that covered a wider variety of electrical work and then left school at 16 to start her new path.
Into her second year, along with another apprentice of the same level they were given a job of 26 units to be wired.
The work was pretty demanding; “10 hours per unit, if you don’t get it done within that time, you won’t get paid for it” said her boss, let’s call him Mr Wolf.
They worked for what seems like a low rate of only $5.00 an hour, with Mr Wolf leaning over their shoulder and watching the clock the pressure was on. The only way she could reach her target was by getting her dad to cut the wooden noggings at home to help installation go faster the next day.
At the end of her second year she moved to a new company and went on to finish her apprenticeship and sat her AM2 exam . Her boss doubted her readiness for the AM2 threatening she would lose her job if she went ahead with it though her tutor and colleagues believed she was ready, she booked it and passed the test with flying colours and she was asked to stay with the company but she decided to move on.
She started her own business in England and had so much work she then needed to take a holiday, so she toured Australia. She returned to the UK, Her Dad convinced her to go back to Australia because he could see she was having so much fun and there was so much opportunity. So she did, a couple of years after the move she set up her business, now seven years later and she’s now telling me her business story at a local cafe.
Mel’s advice to other women out there is “Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t get something straight away, it takes time, have patience and stand up for yourself”.
Her goal for this year is taking on bigger contracts and tenders, training up her new apprentice and building a happy team with her partner (John) who came on board after they met in Australia.
They focus on temporary power during planned or emergency power outages and backup generators, working from the Perth area. They are also trying to expand into the commercial sector and get some contracts in mining.
Mel Moore is Owner/Director of GEM Generation Electrical Maintenance.