BEAUDESERT State High School year 12 student Lita Barnes swapped the classroom for a hard hat to get a headstart on her career.
Queensland Urban Utilities’ first school-based trainee began her traineeship in July 2017.
Since then she has spent one day each week learning the ropes at Beaudesert Sewage Treatment Plant to gain a Certificate II in Water Operations.
Queensland Urban Utilities plant manager Michael Oakey said the program was a great way for students to gain skills for the workforce.
“Lita has been willing to tackle anything and she is a self-starter so this role was perfect for her,” he said.
“How quickly she adapted is a credit to her because working in a sewage treatment plant is quite a different environment from school.”
Ms Barnes said the practical elements of the role attracted her to the traineeship.
“I’ve picked up so many water-saving techniques we can use at home.
“I have learned more than I’ve ever known about sewage treatment plants,” the Kooralbyn local said.
She said she had learned everything that happened with waste water from flush to farms.
“I learned how sewage is treated and how it ends up on local farms to water the properties,” Ms Barnes said.
“I’ve found it really interesting to see how everything works behind the scenes.
“Visiting other treatment plants has been an eye-opener as well.”
Ms Barnes’ tasks during her traineeship included taking chlorine samples and daily readings.
She also carried out routine maintenance checks at sewage treatment plants and pump stations.
Ms Barnes, who often helped out in the family earth works business, said she planned to apply for an apprenticeship position after finishing school.
“I’m going to find a job and look for an apprenticeship in diesel fitting because I’ve always been interested in the mechanical side of things,” she said.
“I love big machinery and I want to work in the mines.”
In keeping with her love of large machines, Ms Barnes said she intended to pull up at her pre-formal parade next week in a Western Star truck.
She said she would celebrate the end of school by following example of her older brother Jessy.
Jessy graduated from Beaudesert High School last year and is now an apprentice chef at the Ramada Resort.
He chose to ditch the concept of a schoolies week in favour of something he enjoys doing with mates – camping.
“I’m going on a camping road trip with some friends instead of going to schoolies,” Ms Barnes said.
“I’m definitely looking forward to leaving school.”