Weipa electrical tradeswoman in bid for prestigious NAIDOC win

23 June 2017

A Weipa electrician has been named an ‘Apprentice of the Year’ finalist at the 2017 National NAIDOC Awards to be held in Cairns. Sharee Yamashita will learn the outcome of her nomination at the prestigious awards ceremony on 1 July.

Sharee successfully completed an electrical apprenticeship with Rio Tinto Weipa and graduated from her studies in February 2017. She recently secured a full-time role as an electrician at the same site.

Rio Tinto general manager, Weipa operations, Daniel van der Westhuizen said "During her apprenticeship, we were impressed with Sharee’s work ethic and her dedication to doing the best job possible. Sharee’s commitment to safety has been evident, and has been recognised by her team leader and peers.

"We are very proud that Sharee has been named as a finalist in her category and wish her the best of luck at the awards."

Sharee acknowledged her determination to succeed had been driven by workplace mentors and strong family role models including her father.

"My father always told me, don’t do a job so poorly that you have to do it again. Do it right the first time. I have always lived by that. I try to learn as much as I can from different people and absorb their skills and knowledge," said Sharee.

The awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate outstanding contributions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians make to improve the lives of Indigenous people. The event is also an opportunity to promote issues to the wider community.

The ceremony coincides with NAIDOC Week – held each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

About Sharee Yamashita

Sharee was born on Thursday Island and attended boarding school in Townsville where she developed her strengths in maths, legal studies and physics.

She began a business and accounting degree but deferred her studies to move to Weipa. A female cousin working as an apprentice diesel fitter encouraged Sharee to apply for an electrical apprenticeship at Rio Tinto Weipa – where she could put her strong background in maths and science to work. Sharee hopes to inspire other young women to look for career opportunities in non-traditional roles.