First Female Heavy Diesel Mechanic Joins O’Connors

Claire Voigt, aged 20 from Horsham, has always dreamed of working as a mechanic in the agricultural industry. After years of watching and helping her father, Greg Voigt a local mechanic, she never imagined that finding a job would be as difficult as it was. Claire had been applying for jobs but no one was willing to give her a go. She believes they weren’t taking her seriously because she was female!

Thanks to a long-standing partnership with O’Connors Farm Machinery, Skillinvest was able to make Claire’s dream come true. Successfully completing her probationary period this month, Claire is now the company’s first female Heavy Diesel Mechanic apprentice, based at the Warracknabeal workshop.

“Claire is one of the most passionate and dedicated apprentices we’ve seen. She drives 59 km to and from work every day, is a great team player, shows great initiative and is eager to learn. We’ve always been an equal employment organisation but don’t often get approached by women in our industry. We’re fortunate to have Claire and look forward to supporting her growth and development, she certainly shows great potential”, Lisa Day, HR Manager at O’Connors said.  

“Having the opportunity to learn something new everyday about something I’m so passionate about and working with a great bunch of people is the best part of my apprenticeship. It’s crazy how a header works and to learn this from experienced Service Technicians is amazing,” Claire said.

Claire’s day-to-day tasks include overhauling, servicing and repairing the mechanical parts of agricultural equipment like headers and tractors, working on engine transmission and suspension systems. Claire will complete her Certificate III in Diesel Mechanic and drive 228km to attend trade school in Swan Hill eight times a year. In five years time, Claire hopes to be fully qualified and still working with O’Connors.

Skillinvest is committed to promoting and enhancing workplace diversity and has established a Equal Employment Opportunity Policy to steer the organisation toward diversity goals, including growing the number of women in trades and providing employment and training opportunities for minority groups, refugees and indigenous youth.

Working with O’Connors for over 20 years, Skillinvest provides apprentices, ongoing training and HR support across all six of their Victorian locations. Claire’s successful placement represents a big step forward for the partnership and for workplace equality in the still predominantly male-dominated agricultural industry.


Want to start a trade or agricultural career like Claire? Visit or call 1300 308 620 and speak to our friendly team about our how our business partnerships and industry knowledge can help land your dream job or apprenticeship!