New construction lecturer on the block at Alice campus 

Marcela Ganicoche … worked in the construction sector for the past 15 years

What does the Phantom of the Opera have in common with vocational education and training at Charles Darwin University’s Alice Springs campus?

The answer is Marcela Ganicoche, the campus’s new multi-talented construction lecturer.

Ms Ganicoche, who starts delivering training this month, spent a year working on stage sets for some of the world’s most loved theatrical stage productions, including Phantom of the Opera.

“It was fantastic work. I was living in Adelaide and working with a team that refurbished the sets for Phantom and Miss Saigon, both of which were boxed up and sent to cities all over the world.

“I also worked as a carpenter on the sets for Billy Elliot and Wicked,” she said.

And as desperately as Ms Ganicoche wanted to see her handiwork in Billy Elliot, she was never afforded the opportunity.

“Billy Elliot was a phenomenal effort and I really wanted to see it, but as fate would have I haven’t had the chance,” she said.

Ms Ganicoche has worked in the construction sector for the past 15 years.

“I’ve worked on a mine site, for a residential construction firm and in commercial construction.

“I worked on the ‘Advertiser’ building in Adelaide’s CBD in 2006. It was state-of-the art, built with the latest environmentally efficient materials and systems and later won a major design award,” she said.

Ms Ganicoche originally began studying to be a primary school teacher, but said that back then it wasn’t for her.

“It didn’t satisfy the need to be creative with my hands and I didn’t want to be confined to a workshop, so I ended up in construction, which has worked out well for me.”

Ms Ganicoche said she was not fazed about lecturing to a workshop full of young men.

“There have been occasions when, as a woman in a traditionally male-dominated trade, I’ve had to show that I can walk the walk and talk the talk, but the bottom line is I have the experience, the knowledge and qualifications of a tradesperson.”

Ms Ganicoche will deliver training and undertake assessment of apprentices studying for their Certificate III in Carpentry from 27 February and to senior secondary students studying for Certificate II in Construction Pathways from March.

“The Carpentry apprentice classes are filling fast, but we won’t know numbers for Construction Pathways for a few more weeks,” she said.