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  • Jodie Morphett

Kayla's Welding Win!

Competing in what is traditionally a male-dominated industry, first-year female apprentice Kayla Hansen-Austen recently took first place at her employer’s inaugural Apprentice Welding Competition.

Kayla, who is only two months into her boilermakers apprenticeship with Hanlon Industries QLD at Narangba, was completely shocked when she was awarded first place in the overall competition.

“I was shaking so much when they called my name out, I just couldn’t believe it,” she says. “I was up against some really great pieces of art that I didn’t think I had a chance.”

Luke Howarth MP attended a barbeque put on for staff and key suppliers, where Kayla walked away with over $2,000 worth of prizes, all donated by the suppliers.

Angus MacDonald, a 2nd year apprentice, came in second taking away prizes valued at $1,100, with 2nd year apprentice Anthony Heywood winning third place, valued at $750. A special mention award went to 3rd year apprentice Elijah Walton.

Kayla also has the honour of TAFE Qld displaying her piece at their Acacia Ridge campus.

Kayla is an adult apprentice, 26 years of age, and came to Hanlons from a background in management. She says she loves to build things and gets the chance to do that every day now and is excited to be starting an interesting new career with Hanlons.

She enjoys the job, and her workmates are great, she says.

The new apprentice says she didn't know what to expect when she lined up to start in the welding competition on 29 September. Contestants had only five hours to build something along the theme of ‘transport’ with materials selected from a collection of scrap metal offcuts. Kayla chose to build a model ute with an attached caravan.

Head of Operations in QLD, Matt Talarico said: “The Apprentice Competition is a great way for the apprentices to have a day that is focused on them and to be able to show off their creative talents to their workmates.

“I was shaking so much when they called my name out, I just couldn’t believe it.” “I was up against some really great pieces of art that I didn’t think I had a chance.”

“Hanlon Industries are so proud of all our apprentices and support them wherever we can. They are such a huge part of our future and growth in the industry.”

Hanlon Industries QLD is a Narangba steel manufacturing and construction company employing 44 staff, including ten apprentices, two of them female. Kayla is the only adult female apprentice.

The manufacturing industry has recently been hit with a downturn in the availability of skilled labour across the country, which has imposed many challenges for businesses, including Hanlons.

Educating the community about the opportunities that exist for school leavers and young talent is one way that Hanlon Industries is combating this shortage. Offering opportunities for work experience, school visits and partnering with several groups within the Moreton Bay region are among the many activities the company pursues.

Hanlon Industries plans to hire further apprentices in the upcoming new year, so anyone interested in exploring opportunities should reach out by emailing


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