Two young females inspiring the next generation of water trainees

Published on 27 September 2022

Grace and Vivien

Kempsey Shire Council was among several employers who joined the big turnout at the School and Industry Connection Day for secondary students on Wednesday 10 August at the Slim Dusty Centre.

Organised by Training Services NSW, the event brought local employers and high school students together to showcase the wide range of employment opportunities the Macleay Valley has to offer.

Leading the way for Council were trainee Grace Kuhnell and apprentice Vivien Partridge, sharing their experiences working in Council’s Water and Sewer team and guiding students through hands-on activities.

“It was really great to speak to students about water processes and the different pathways available to them, said Ms Kuhnell.

“Some students really thrived in the practical side when we were testing water and changing a water metre. Others were more interested in theory, so it was great to explain that there are opportunities to pursue both sides at Council.”

A highlight for both staffs was seeing the number of young women approaching them interested in taking up a trade qualification.

“While there may not be a huge amount of women tradies in our local area, there is definitely interest and opportunities popping up across the shire,” said Ms Partridge.

 “There is a wider female tradie community out there. I’m a member of a women in trades Facebook group dedicated to supporting each other and it’s a really welcoming network.”

The main message to not only women wanting to do a trade but to anyone was ‘give it a go!”

“My team are so supportive and encouraging. It’s a work environment you can really thrive in so it would be great to see more women giving it a go,” said Ms Kuhnell.

“Apprenticeship and traineeships are an awesome way to get your foot in the door in a life-long career where you learn both the theory and practical task at the same time,” said Ms Partridge.

Council is currently looking for trainees and apprentices in Water and Sewer. To find out more head to

Grace and VivienGrace and Vivien