Maxine Colligan, who was previously awarded a bronze medal for car painting at WorldSkills Kazan in Russia last year, has been named Western Sydney Woman of the Year after already taking out the title of Western Sydney Woman in Trades earlier this month.
Colligan, now working as an Automotive Refinishing Technician at AMA Group, represented Australia in 2019 at the WorldSkills International Competition in Kazan, Russia, winning the Best of Nation Award along with a bronze medal in the Car Painting category.
Western Sydney Women says that Colligan is a powerful advocate for women taking up vocational education and training, who insists that it is a feasible and rewarding pathway for those who wish to pursue it.
According to Western Sydney Women, Colligan, from Campbelltown in Sydney’s south-western suburbs, is making huge strides as a woman in trades and will be an inspiration to all women thinking about starting a trade. The organisation adds that her determination, contribution and skills in her field make her an inspiration to others – displaying attributes which speak to the mission that Western Sydney Women stands for.
“Western Sydney Women is the first and only organisation to advocate for all women from the inner west, greater west, north-west and south-west of Sydney, with a mission to be the voice and inspiration for all women living and working in the Western Sydney areas,” said Amanda Rose, founding director of Western Sydney Women.
“The Western Sydney Women awards is the only awards programme representing women at all stages in their life, business and career across the inner west, greater west, north-west and south-west of Sydney. The awards were created in honour of giving women of the west recognition for their hard work; it is also the only awards programme that is free to enter and free to attend to ensure it is accessible to all women.”
After graduating from a high school in Campbelltown, Colligan enrolled in a pre-vocational course for spray painting where she gained the skills and knowledge needed to seek an apprenticeship. According to Western Sydney Women, her journey into the workforce was initially full of disappointments and setbacks, with Colligan experiencing first-hand the difficulty some women face breaking into what is traditionally considered a man’s occupation. Despite the multiple setbacks and after seven months of work experience, she was finally able to start her apprenticeship with the AMA Group.
Kate Carnell, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, says this year’s Outstanding Western Sydney Women Awards recognises the resilience and agility of community leaders, entrepreneurs and tradies in this challenging time.
“My office is honoured to get behind these awards and the efforts of Western Sydney Women, which aims to help women in the region advance their businesses and career paths and provide a support network,” Carnell said.