Trailblazing female firefighter lands top job in Far North
THE Far North's new top firefighter has been smashing glass ceilings for 25 years whether she wanted to or not.
Michelle Young was among the first cohort of female firefighters to enter the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services in 1995, before most stations even had women's toilets, and has been the first woman to reach each senior rank.
She landed in Cairns on February 10 as the region's new assistant commissioner and said that while it hadn't always been the easiest career path, she had loved "every second" of her job.
"I used to just think I wanted to get in and do the job, but then I realised with every promotion came more responsibility," she said.
"I am smashing glass ceilings whether I like to think of it that way or not."
Just 8 per cent of QFES firefighters are female, a figure AC Young is desperate to see grow.
Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford applauded her appointment.
"She has paved the way for a lot of women firefighters coming through now," he said.
"She is very deserving of the assistant commissioner rank. She had to fight hard for that."
Her roles have included operations, training, community safety, business management and overseeing large-scale situations, including wildfires and cyclones.