A young girl with dark blonde hair in slicked back works on a car with an open bonnet.

Passion for old Toyota Corolla leads Bendigo woman to Girls in STEAM Electric Car program, job

A chance encounter has propelled a young woman into a career in the automotive industry.

Tarli Goss was pulling apart her car in a car park at La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus when the director of the Bendigo Tech School, Graeme Wiggins, spotted her.

“We found her one hot summer’s day with her car disassembled over three parking bays and went over to find out what she was up to,” Mr Wiggins said.

“We ended up saying there’s a project you should really come and have a look at.”

He invited Ms Goss to get involved in Girls in STEAM Electric Car program, which immerses young women in the automotive industry.

That program has now led the 21-year-old to work at a Bendigo auto repair business.

‘I wanted to service my own car’

Ms Goss says she thought it would “be cool” to have general knowledge about cars.(ABC Central Victoria: Emma D’Agostino)

Ms Goss said she had not considered a career in the automotive industry until she got her car and license.

Music was one of her passions growing up, and she played the violin at a level that provided her with opportunities to travel to learn and perform.

Ms Goss became interested in a new set of instruments when she inherited a 1994 Toyota Corolla.

“I wanted to service my own car,” she said.

“I thought it would just be cool to have general knowledge about cars.

“That way, I could help some of my friends because I know it’s not a very common thing for people of our age or even in this generation to actually know about even changing a tire.”

She was already an automotive course at TAFE when she met Mr Wiggins.

Studies were part of the reason she was pulling apart her car that summer’s day.

“I kind of just wanted to look more into my car and build a relationship with it,” Ms Goss said.

Connecting need with interest

Male teacher in blue overalls with two female students in an auto workshop.
Mr Wiggins says the project is about investing in young people.(ABC Central Victoria: Emma D’Agostino)

It was through her involvement with the Bendigo Tech School that Ms Goss connected with her employer.

She was part of the team working on the Girls in STEAM Electric Car — an aspirational technology project that aims to help educate the community about the future of transport.

“The concept was to convert an old four-wheel-drive — in this case, a Range Rover — into a Tesla-powered electric car,” Mr Wiggins said.

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