Wallerawang’s Jenny Wittingslow has worked the lifetime of Mt Piper Power Station, celebrating its 25th birthday on Sunday, April 15. Starting out as a cleaner at Wallerawang Power Station, Ms Wittingslow went on to become the power stations’ first female mechanical fitter and is now a senior member of staff.
“I started working at Wallerawang Power Station in 1986 in June. I was working as a cleaner labourer. I was looking for employment and needed a job but there was always opportunities working in the business for those working at the power station,” Ms Wittingslow said.
”When I started to improve and move forward into some of the other career paths, I got into rigging scaffolding, forklift driving and assisting more with the trades people.”
From a family of fitters and motor sport enthusiasts, Wittingslow jumped at the opportunity offered by the power station to study a trade at TAFE.
“It was very exciting. We’d get to pull a motor apart one day and work in a mill the next day, the work was always different.
“It taught me stuff you never forget, how to solve problems.”
By 1994 she was working across Wallerawang and Mt Piper as the stations’ first female fitter.
“It was a big achievement but it wasn’t hard because I had so much support from my colleagues.
“There were other adult apprentices I went through with, we held each other in high regard and found it rewarding and fulfilling.”
Ms Wittingslow’s son has followed in her footsteps, having just started an apprenticeship in the trade.
In 2011 Ms Wittingslow downed tools and hit the books again to train as a health and safety officer.
She said her knowledge of the different roles at Mt Piper Power Station has assisted her in her current position as senior health and safety officer.
“Yes, it does. Just knowing what people do helps me assist them to work in better and safer ways. It’s a huge responsibility and has a really broad scope.”
Mt Piper Power Station is celebrating its 25th Birthday on April 15 with an open day.