By James Gratton
Published: Thursday, September 24, 2020
As one of RAA’s first female patrols, Tiarna Oxer has become a trailblazer for young women looking to enter the automotive industry.
The 22-year-old qualified mechanic became an RAA roadside service contractor in August. Since then, she’s attended dozens of call-outs to help members stranded on the side of the road.
Tiarna, a Barossa Valley resident, works at Angaston Motors, which also operates as an RAA Country Service Depot.
She is just one of almost 250 contractors who are employed as roadside service experts, which help support local businesses in South Australia.
When asked what made her want to become a mechanic, Tiarna said she was inspired to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather Ernest.
“Pop was a mechanic and he used to work on double decker buses in England,’’ she said.
“In year 10 at school, we did a basic car maintenance course and I loved it, so I decided to do a certificate in light vehicle mechanical technology the next year, with Pop’s encouragement.
“At the end of year 11 I applied for an apprenticeship in Nuriootpa – it was a small family business and I was given a trial and luckily they kept asking me to come back.’’
After completing a TAFE course, Tiarna quickly fell in love with her career.
“I’d encourage anyone – female or male — who has a passion for mechanics and doesn’t mind getting dirty to give it a go,’’ she said.
“The customers have been great and all the feedback has been positive.’’
Tiarna is the RAA’s second female roadside contractor, joining Brydea Martin who has been responding to call-outs in the Kingston area since 2016.
Brydea urges other women to get involved in the industry.
“Don’t be afraid to give it a go. The biggest block is in your mind, so back yourself and you’ll be fine,” she says.