Apprentice Alanna Dennien Wins Queensland Exceptional Tradesperson Award

Komatsu Australia is delighted to congratulate our fourth-year apprentice Alanna Dennien, who recently notched up an outstanding achievement.

Alanna was named winner of the 2019 Exceptional Tradesperson/Technician/Operator in Queensland Resources as part of the International Women’s Day Breakfast and Resources Award ceremony in Brisbane on March 8.

This event was hosted by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and Women in Mining & Resources Queensland (WIMARQ), and was sponsored by BHP.

Alanna started with Komatsu in 2016, as an adult Diesel Technician Apprentice with Komatsu, having previously worked for the company as a parts interpreter/customer service representative at its Gladstone branch.She is now in the final year of her apprenticeship, as well as in the final year of a Graduate Diploma in Asset and Maintenance Management.

Alanna was profiled in D2E two years ago, when she was accepted for a keenly contested eight-month mentoring program through WIMARQ, a placement that was funded and supported by Komatsu.

Alanna’s latest award was announced at a breakfast event in Brisbane, attended by 1000 people, and live-streamed to mining and industry sites throughout Queensland.Now as the winner of the state award, she will go on to the national WIMARQ awards in Sydney in September.

In winning this award, D2E asked Alanna about her aims, the challenges of working in this industry, her career aims and steps she was taking to help make the industry more inclusive for women. These are her responses.

Career aims

“Once I finish my apprenticeship, I’d like to stay on the tools for a bit and really get into the technical and diagnostics side of the business, so I can help support the equipment out in the field.

“I’ll finish my graduate diploma this year, then I want to continue on to do my Masters in Asset and Maintenance Management.”


“I have to say, everyone’s been very supportive of me doing what I’m doing.

“I’m 27 now, I was 24 when I started. But I really wanted to start doing this when I was 18; straight out of high school, I started applying for apprentices, but then kept having people talk me out of them, that it wasn’t what I really wanted to do, that it was too greasy or dirty for a woman.

“Then I thought stuff it, I’m not going to let anyone talk me out of this. I had a lot of rejections, and it took me a long time to get here, but here I am.

“When people think I can’t do something, I get great satisfaction out of showing people who don’t think that a girl can do a trade, that girls can do an excellent job too. It’s a good feeling to be able to prove to others – and yourself – that you can do this job.”

Promoting inclusivity

“I’m really passionate about getting girls and women into this industry.

“I found my menteeship through WIMARQ incredibly valuable, and I applied to be a mentor this year, through QMEA (Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy), and just before the awards ceremony, I met for the first time the Grade 12 high school girl I’ll be mentoring.As part of this, women already in the industry will be looking at how we can assist girls, talking to them about the industry, what it involves.

“It’s something that’s not really spoken about in schools, so the kids don’t really know what the industry is all about.We need to get to these girls early, and start talking to them about the career opportunities.”