Hannah Mesman was a curious kid who always wanted to know how things worked. As she got older she began to share her father’s interest in cars, which led to a STAR Automotive course in her final year at Southland Girls High School.
She enrolled in the Certificate in Automotive Engineering in 2012 and her enthusiasm for the industry grew along with her skills and knowledge. “Some parts of it were quite challenging. There was a lot of work involved – heaps of bookwork and heaps of practical, you wouldn’t believe how much we crammed in. But the tutors were all really approachable, they were really friendly and helpful, so that was great.”
As part of the course she did work experience at Autotec one day per week, as well as working part-time at Supercheap Auto. Once she’d graduated, she continued working at Supercheap Auto whilst applying for other jobs. Success wasn’t immediate, but she persisted, building her network and approaching various contacts until eventually she landed her current role in the Parts department at Prestige Commercial Vehicles Ltd.
As a Parts Interpreter, Hannah specialises in tracking down parts for Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Sterling & Fuso commercial vehicles. “Every phone call is a challenge, some harder than others, but it’s a real mix and that keeps it different and interesting,” she says. Within her first two years in the role she has already travelled to Melbourne and Sydney for training courses and she is on her way to becoming a Mercedes Benz certified salesperson.
Hannah’s enjoyment in her role is evident. “The best part of the job is the people you meet,” she reveals. “Mostly we see the truck drivers and as you can imagine there are some real characters… they’ve always got a good story up their sleeve!” Women in the industry are still the minority, but Hannah has encountered very few negative perceptions. “It doesn’t matter as long as you’re doing the job properly!” she says. “If it’s your passion, definitely give it a go.”