Indigenous women in the Katherine region are getting into the driver's seat of their own futures with the help of new training courses aimed at getting women into careers usually dominated by men.
Local woman Sherisee Ahwon, who works for Katherine-based Aboriginal-owned Kalano Community Association, has just obtained her Certificate 3 in Civil Construction and Plant Operations, including her tickets to operate heavy machinery like bobcats and excavators.
Now, she's working to encourage other Aboriginal women to do the training facilitated by Kalano as a part of their Community Development Program.
Ms Ahwon, whose role within Kalano is to mentor other women, said the courses provide women with the confidence they need to achieve their goals.
"It's not just for men. The course helps to give these ladies the confidence to get out and have a go," she said.
"I did it to prove to these ladies, and to myself as well, that they can do anything they want."
Ms Ahwon said by the end of the course, which ran full-time for five weeks, she and the other woman who took part - Teya Alum - loved being behind the wheel of the machines.
"By the end, they had to drag us off those machines, between me and Teya," she said.
"Now I'd like to follow up and try other machines. It opens doors for other opportunties."
Men's supervisor for Kalano, Glenn Nuggin, said the course encouraged women and men to work together and treat each other as equals.
"To men, when you see the ladies out there with the blokes...they both worked well together," he said.
"They were supporting each other and everyone kept coming every day. I believe in equal opportunitiy, as this is what it was.
"A mmall machinery course is the next one, hopefully we get some women there."
Acting CEO Alan Mole said the next step is to get Indigenous women into full-time jobs in local industries such as mining and defence.
"We want to create a career path for these ladies," he said.
"If we can get some Indigenous women into these positions like mining and at the Tindall Air Base they can make a career out there and make a good living."
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