Bonnie Inkster’s love of motor sports started when she worked in the family’s pub, and the blare of motor racing dominated the oversized tv screens on the wall. It was also at that pub that she got itchy feet.

Driven by a love of all things mechanical, she finished an apprenticeship in the automotive industry. With a thirst to continue learning, she then chose Chisholm Institute's Certificate III in Engineering Fabrication Trade and threw herself into the world of welding and boiler making.

Bonnie started her apprenticeship in Fabrication with Sterling Pumps, a well-known farming irrigation company where she showed incredible determination and skill.

In the final year of her apprenticeship, she was offered the position of her dreams - with leading motorsports team, Walkinshaw Andretti United. Here, Bonnie shone, pursuing her passion for fabrication in an industry close to her heart. She’s had the chance to travel extensively with the motorsport team, and at the Bathurst 1000 was part of the team that achieved a podium result.

Bonnie's welding skills are outstanding. She’s an expert in TIG welding, achieving flawless, precise results which set her apart from her peers. Not daunted by the male-dominated environment, Bonnie has excelled in the motorsport industry and the field of boiler making and welding. Debunking all stereotypes, she has consistently demonstrated her competence and skills.

Bonnie has also not let her hearing impairment be a barrier to her success.  She developed her own strategies to communicate with her teammates.  She’s learned to read lips and is open about her hearing loss, asking that people stand in front of her when communicating so she can better participate in conversations.  In the banter and noise of the workshop, she does not miss a beat.  

Impressively, she’s also adapted her welding techniques to cope with her hearing loss. While using equipment such as MIG welders, she relies on other senses such as sight and touch to ensure the correct wire feed and other crucial elements. In TIG welding, where precision is paramount, Bonnie heavily relies on her sight and achieves flawless results. These adaptations highlight her ability to innovate and use her strengths to overcome any obstacle.

Bonnie was named as a finalist in the 2024 Master Builders Awards. She was then named the winner of the Empowered Women in Trades (EWIT) Awards for Apprentice of the Year in February 2024, and Apprentice of the Year in the 2024 Chisholm Education Awards. 

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