IF not for a bit of time out after school, neither Maddie Flatman or Rhys Beaumont believe they would have gone into a trade.
But the two Newcastle City Council first-year apprentices now rank among the country’s best in their fields, earning the right to fight for a spot at the Olympic Games for tradespeople in Russia next year.
Both will head to Sydney in June to compete in WorldSkills Australia, the Olympics for young tradespeople, at the national level after regional wins.
The pair will train with TAFE teachers to hone their skills before the competition, where victory could earn them a trip to compete in Russia in 2019 as part of a “Skillaroos” team.
The Newcastle Herald reported yesterday that the Hunter Valley Training Company and other bodies statewide were struggling to fill vacancies for apprentices and trainees.
Both Ms Flatman, of Charlestown, and Woodville’s Mr Beaumont said they had not considered trades before taking a year out after school, arguing it was rarely discussed as an option. “I know when I was at school there wasn’t much talk about doing a trade at all,” Ms Flatman, a first-year graphics and signs apprentice, said. “I always thought it was because there weren’t jobs available.”
She said the hands-on nature of the job had inspired her, as well as the ability to put creativity into her work.
“I never considered doing a trade but I definitely recommend it,” she said.
Mr Beaumont said he would likely have ended up at university had he not spent time working abroad immediately after school and come back with a clear plan. “[Uni] is just a default,” he said.
Mr Beaumont is studying construction management at the University of Newcastle alongside his carpentry apprenticeship.
“I think most of my mates who didn’t really know what to do have gone to uni, and at least half have changed courses or aren’t happy with the one they are doing,” he said. “From my point of view I don’t think there are actually a huge number of apprenticeships offered … for a private business it’s actually expensive to put us on.”
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