Gulf lass pursues career in welding

While it has traditionally been the trend for Metal Fabrication Welders (MFWs) to be men, Lean Brian is re-shaping the mould, challenging stereotypical gender roles, when she noticed a growing demand for welders in the country.

Soon-to-be a certified MFW 25-year-old Lean Brian from Mapaio village, in Gulf province’s Kikori District will graduate next year with a National Certificate 3 (NC3) from Port Moresby Technical College (Pom Tech) and remains hopeful of her prospects.

“I chose to apply for MFW because I see that there is a growing demand for welding (positions) in PNG,” she says.

One of only four girls in her skills course, all sponsored by TotalEnergies EP PNG Limited (TEP PNG), Lean says that she would like to see more girls apply for similar Technical and Vocational Education & Training (TVET) courses because it is not something only men can do.

Remembering how happy and excited she was, when she was told she would be a scholarship recipient to attend Pom Tech, she calls it a blessing.

“The classes are interesting; I’m learning a lot of new things from my instructors. Most of them (instructors) are men but I don’t feel like they treat us differently,” she says.

Attending primary school in Baimuru, she completed her grades 9 &10 at Don Bosco Aramiri Technical Secondary and was selected to go on to do Grades 11 and 12 at Kerema Coronation Secondary.

“My father died when I was very young so I grew up with my mum and was also raised and supported by an aunty from Chimbu. She has acted as my guardian, supporting me with everything,” she shared.

“She supported me when I was at Don Bosco with school fees and even now that I’m here, she still takes care of me,” she added.

Originally wanting to be a nurse, Lean states that even though her original dream did not eventuate, she is content with the path she is taking now.

After being unable to attend ITI in Lae, she was in Kerema town searching for opportunities when she noticed a large group gathered around a notice board in the town in 2021.

There was a notice placed about the TVET courses available to students in Gulf, sponsored by TEP PNG, which prompted her to submit an application through her school Kerema Coronation Secondary.

“I encourage younger girls and boys in the village to focus on their education and be on the look-out for TVET courses sponsored by TotalEnergies, to apply to like I did,” she said.

Lean encourages them to apply as TotalEnergies offers great opportunities for children from Gulf. She adds that if she had not chosen to join the TVET program, she would have stayed back in Gulf Province and looked for opportunities there.

When she graduates next year, her hope is to apply to work with TotalEnergies but knows that wherever she works, her skills will be able to open more opportunities for her. 

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