In her short six-year career, Ashley Beeby has achieved more than some professionals achieve in their lifetime, already inspiring the next generation of diesel mechanics.
Bright, brave and humble, Ashley Beeby is a qualified diesel mechanic with an impressive resumé, to put it mildly. Kicking off her apprenticeship straight out of school in 2017, Beeby has since worked across multiple industries, run her own business and been awarded multiple accolades – exemplifying that a career in heavy industries has no bounds with the right attitude.
Yet surprisingly, Beeby found her career by accident. During school, when it came time to undertake work experience, she signed up to repair trucks in Cummins’ heavy vehicle workshop without knowing what it was she had signed up for.
“I had no mechanics in the family, no interest in cars or vehicles, and when I found out I was going to be working on trucks I didn’t want to go anymore,” says Beeby. “Fortunately, my parents convinced me to not waste a good opportunity.”
“I attended a week of work experience in overalls that were three times my size, in the heaviest pair of shoes I had ever worn with steel caps in the toes, and it turned out that I loved it.”
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After that she kept going back for more, also taking on an automotive subject in her high school studies. By the time Beeby finished Year 12, having completed a wealth of work experience and graduating with an ATAR in the top 5 per cent of the state, she knew that being a diesel mechanic was the career for her.
Beeby then completed a four-year diesel mechanic apprenticeship with Cummins in the transport industry where she rebuilt engines and highway trucks – winning the Inspirational Young Achiever of the Year Award at TAFE for the study component of her apprenticeship.
Upon completion of her studies, Beeby moved into the mining industry. Joining BMA, she flew in and out of Daunia Coal Mine – a joint venture between BHP and Mitsubishi – in Queensland to work on heavy earthmoving machinery and, during her weeks at home, ran her own local business as a diesel mechanic.
“I have recently been working as a diesel mechanic with BildGroup, working in the road maintenance and civil construction sectors fixing machines on sites across Victoria,” says Beeby. “I started with BildGroup in May of last year after spending some time working for them as a subcontractor through my own business.
“In this role I spent around 50 per cent of my time in the BildGroup workshop and 50 per cent out on customers’ sites, doing anything from servicing equipment and fixing broken parts to carrying out diagnostics and working on anything from an onsite generator to an excavator, bulldozer or smaller digger.
“I also spent time working on road profilers and asphalt pavers as part of the business’s road maintenance team.”
Now having worked across numerous industries – going from transport to mining and then construction – Beeby found that while there’s an overlap and many similarities in the machinery used, each time she moved into a new industry she discovered there was a whole new layer to the world that she hadn’t known before.
“Each industry unlocks new opportunities to learn and grow as a professional,” she says. “Working in the construction industry, I quickly learned that the opportunities are vast.”
“There’s so much that happens in this industry and being in that world has shown me the diversity of roles, people, options and potential that exists within a career in construction.”
Beeby says the best part about her job, especially her job at BildGroup, is the diversity within her role – getting to work on different machines, solve different problems and carry out different repairs.
“The diversity is what makes the job so rewarding, because it’s very hard to get bored when every day is different,” she says. “I not only have to use my body to get the job done, but also my brain to figure out the best way to go about a repair or problem solve any challenges that arise.”
During her time at BildGroup, Beeby worked on notable projects such as the Barwon Heads Road Upgrade, part of Victoria’s Big Build. Throughout this project, she upgraded and fixed machines, carried out repairs and checked in on the site to make sure all the machines were running smoothly so that the project team could do their job.
Adding to her already accomplished career, Beeby is a Vocational Education and Training (VET) Champion for Victoria’s Department of Education. The VET Champions initiative showcases high-achieving Victorians who have risen to success through a VET pathway.
“As a VET Champion I attend local schools and industry events to talk about my VET experiences and career, and advocate for not only women in trades, but also for VET pathways,” she says. “It’s led to lots of great opportunities including speaking at expos, sharing my journey with school students and engaging with other businesses that are trying to drive change.”
“As much as I enjoy my role as a diesel mechanic, find it engaging and enjoy the mindfulness of getting the job done, engaging with schools brings a new level of appreciation for what I do.
“Having conversations with students, opening their minds to a career in construction or as a diesel mechanic, and seeing their faces light up when they realise that being a diesel mechanic is a viable career option for both men and women is a great feeling.”
For those looking for a career in diesel mechanics – or in the construction industry – Beeby says the best advice she can give is to sign up for work experience, because the opportunity to take a career for a test drive is invaluable. Work experience laid the foundation of Beeby’s passion for a career in diesel mechanics and today she is thriving, working on heavy machinery for major projects across Victoria.
Looking at all she’s achieved in her short six-year career, it’s clear it’s only just the beginning for Ashley Beeby.