Apprenticeships create opportunity to further your education locally


Karlie Brady

Junior Reporter

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Wonga Beach Welding apprentices, Thomas Mohommed and Luke Pashen learning their trade locally. Image: Karlie Brady.

In the last of our educational series this month, we turn the spotlight on local apprenticeships and learning a trade.

Every year as school leavers prepare for the next step in life, a large emphasis is put on exam results and following the university path.

However, more and more young students today are opting instead to follow another form of further education - one that will allow them to earn while they learn.

A trade apprenticeship is a form of education that teaches an apprentice the workings of a trade through on-the-job training, accompanied by study, often administered by TAFE or other RTOs [Registered Training Organisation].

There are a large variety of trades on offer for potential apprentices and the majority of training can be completed locally in the Douglas Shire, which allows job seekers a chance to gain a qualification without having to move away.

Vito Musumeci from TAFE North said this type of education allows apprentices to get their training while simultaneously beginning their career.

“Apprentices learn the on the job aspect of the trade as well as the theory components to match, so you’re not just learning something you may use in the future, you’re learning theory that is directly partnered with what you're doing on the job,” Mr Musumeci said.

“The university path is not for everybody, some people just want to get out and do some hands-on learning and an apprenticeship allows you to learn in a physical sense with theory that backs it up.

“And you'll have a job at the end of your trade,” he added.

Mr Musumeci said the quality of workmanship that a trade apprenticeship provides students will give them a foot in the door in many areas.

“Once students have got the trade and become a qualified tradesperson they often either start their own businesses or they are very much employable around town.

“In Port Douglas, you have many companies that are very supportive of the apprenticeship system and always have a number of apprentices on,” he said.

One such business is Wonga Beach Welding, a steel fabrication company that specialises in construction, who this year has two apprentices under their employment.

Wonga Beach Welding Boiler Maker James Kenny oversees their work and said having apprentices is hugely beneficial to the company and they have taken many on over the years.

“I was the first apprentice at Wonga Beach Welding 11 years ago and we’ve had five more since then.”

Mr Kenny said that it is a two-way relationship that sees benefits go both ways.

“We need the workers, so through apprentices we get inexpensive labour and they get the training they need.

“We also get to mould them and cut out any bad habits so if they continue to work with us once they are qualified, they will work to our style.”

There is no gender or age limit to beginning an apprenticeship, anyone can become a qualified tradesperson, whether you are just beginning your working life or are changing your career direction later in life.

This is evident at Wonga Beach Welding where Mr Kenny said they have had both male and female apprentices of varying ages.

“We currently have a school leaver, Luke Pashen who is 17-years-old and an adult apprentice, Thomas Mohommed who is 23-years-old.”

To find out what an apprenticeship would look like for you, visit: 



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