Maxine Colligan – the woman to watch

Automotive refinishing technician Maxine Colligan has become a trailblazer for young women looking to enter the automotive industry.

During her apprenticeship, Maxine represented Australia at the WorldSkills International Competition in Russia, winning the best of Nation Award in 2019, as well as receiving the silver medal for Sustainability and the bronze medal for Car Painting.

Maxine is also prized with the 2019 Women in Collision Awards in the technician category, the Inaugural Young Achiever Award in 2019 for Australasian Paint & Panel, and the Western Sydney Woman of the Year. She has amassed a total of 11 awards to her name.

Now a qualified paint technician, Maxine is a strong advocate for Vocational Education and Training (VET) and has encouraged high school students and their families to explore the viable career options that VET offers.

“Competing in the 45th international WorldSkills competition has opened my eyes to what is really possible with VET. Picking up a trade just after high school has been one of the best decisions in my life so far, and I encourage all students to consider a career in the automotive industry,” said Maxine.

“Being qualified in the automotive industry will gain you many skills, not just relating to your job. Being involved with WorldSkills Australia has taught me many skills including time management, people skills and public speaking skills, to name a few. Every day is a new adventure and a learning curve, so make the most of it!”

When asked what advice Maxine would offer to young women considering a career in the trades, her response was “you are going to be told so many times that you cannot “make it” in this trade, but every time you do, turn around and say, “watch me!”. Your determination and skill are what will make a long and lasting career for you.”

When we look to the future, it is individuals such as Maxine who will take up the challenge and continue to drive the automotive industry forward over the coming decade.

18 March 2021