Bronwyn Lear, Print Engineer for Konica Minolta is one of Australia’s first female print technicians. As a unique case, we get her thoughts on the challenges, opportunities and experiences that have led her to join Konica Minolta.
As one of the printing industry’s first female technicians, people often ask me what it’s like.
Do I get treated differently?
Are the expectations different for me than my male colleagues?
Do I ever feel like I’m the odd one out in my team?
The answer to all three is no. I’m proud to be working for a company that values gender equality and is committed to making a positive force for change.
My story of becoming an engineer at Konica Minolta starts from when I was a child. I developed an interest in pulling things apart and rebuilding them from an early age. As the daughter of two engineers, I was always fascinated with how things worked, and loved playing with Lego and Meccano sets, rather than dolls, so becoming an engineer seemed like a natural progression.
When I applied for the traineeship, I was pulling apart cars in my garage and rebuilding them, so they knew that I was mechanically-minded.
I was hired as a trainee through MEGT at the beginning of 2014, and did on-the-job training with Konica Minolta, prior to being officially hired. My traineeship was a 24-month program but I managed to complete it in 18 months, so I became a fully-fledged technician in September 2015. There is also ongoing training within Konica Minolta for their office machines, so I am continually developing my skills.
I work with our office range, from desktop machines to larger multi-function devices. A small part of the job is fixing software issues but for the most part I am focused on mechanical issues, essentially taking things apart and putting them back together again, not unlike the cars in my garage.
As part of a team of engineers, there’s a lot of interaction but it is also a very independent role, so you have to be confident of working on your own. We go to customer sites all day, troubleshoot the problem they are having with their machines, relay our findings to the customers and fix the issues.
While customers are often surprised when a female technician shows up, the reactions I get are overwhelmingly positive. Quite often, when I visit a customer for the first time, they’ll comment on the fact that I’m a woman, as it’s pretty rare in the industry. I personally have never had an issue with being the only female technician as I don’t think it’s that big a deal. I do get the odd comment, such as ‘how will you be able to move the machine’, but I soon prove them wrong.
I think it’s great that Konica Minolta has recently been recognised as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). It’s really true that we live our values, and equality and diversity are just a daily part of working here.
Everybody has got something that they’re good at, and if there’s something that you want to do, just strive to do your best at it. There’s absolutely no reason why anyone can’t do anything if you have the determination.