5 insider strategies to help you land an apprenticeship

5 insider strategies to help you land an apprenticeship

VET apprenticeships open doors to opportunity in a wide range of industries—but getting one can be a challenge. We asked five VET apprentices how they scored their big break—and what advice they can share.

1. Phoebe Giadresco, first-year apprentice electrician

Phoebe Giadresco, first-year apprentice electricianIt took 50 applications, 30 first-round interviews and 20 second-round interviews for Newcastle-based Phoebe to secure her fee-free apprenticeship. She credits encouragement from her father for keeping her focused and positive. “Dad kept on sending me opportunities and kept encouraging me to apply—he said, ‘Keep applying, you’ll get one’,” she says.

The 20-year-old is now employed as a first-year apprentice with the Hunter Valley Training Company and hosted to Liebherr Australia, where she helps fix diggers and trucks in the earth moving and mining industry. Her qualification is a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician.

“I’ve always wanted to be an electrician,” says Phoebe. “I like pulling things apart to see how they work, fixing things and putting them back together,” she says. “Some of my friends went to university, but I chose VET. It was the right pathway for me.”

In May 2019, Phoebe received the Milton Morris Encouragement Award at the HVTC Excellence Awards.


“From what I’ve seen, employers want apprentices to be ready and willing to learn and work hard.” Phoebe got her start by enrolling in a 10-month pre-apprenticeship program in 2018. This gave her valuable experience and credit towards her course. “I think being in the accelerated electrical program helped,” she says. “I did my research on the company and in the interview, I felt comfortable and able to do my best—was still nervous though!”

2. Min Mesk, chef

Min Mesk, chef For 23-year-old Min Mesk, a work experience stint at a local restaurant in Year 10 led to the offer of a chef’s apprenticeship. The Port Stephens-based VET graduate hasn’t looked back since.

Since completing her Certificate III in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery), Min has travelled the world and worked as a sous-chef overseas. Now back from a two-year stint in the UK, she reflects on those early years. A first-year apprentice at 15, it was hard at times to see her friends do ‘normal’ teenage things while she went to work.

“Something I always had to remind myself was that I have an insane amount of love and passion for food and the industry,” says Min. “Seeing the look on people’s faces or hearing the praise would really motivate me to push harder, work smarter and be the best I can be.”


“It’s about finding the place that suits you best—the style of food you want to be creating, the hours, the travel. You really should know what you want before just applying everywhere.”

“Take everything in, say yes, work hard, taste everything and, most importantly, ask questions. When I was a sous chef trialling other chefs, I could pick the ones who wanted it and those who just needed a job. It all came down to whether they asked questions or not.”

3. Blake Mulroe, plant mechanic

Blake Mulroe, plant mechanic Being in the right place at the right time can be an important factor in securing an apprenticeship. Grit and perseverance help, too.

After finishing his HSC in 2012, Blake spent months doing unpaid work experience and casual work with his dad, a diesel mechanic, in his pursuit of a heavy vehicle motor/plant mechanic apprenticeship.

“I didn’t have the experience I needed,” he explains. “Out of the work experience, I got a written reference from my employer, and it was a really good one.”

At 19 years of age, Blake hand-delivered his CV to six or seven employers in his local area. Through these interactions, he learned that many apprentices are placed through a group training organisation (GTO), which employ apprentices and then place them with a host employer. Blake approached one, underwent an interview and basic language and numeracy assessment and then, three days later, “I was offered an apprenticeship,” says the now 27-year-old. “The first offer I couldn’t take because it was too far from home. Soon after I was offered one closer to home. I accepted and started my apprenticeship in January 2013.”

Blake finished his Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology in 2016 and is now working as a plant mechanic with Exact Plant Repairs.


Although Blake scored his apprenticeship through a GTO, he still believes approaching employers directly was a good move. “You have to go into it with the right attitude,” he says. “Face-to-face is better than email or over the phone. Walk into your prospective employer with your resume, and show them a great attitude and keenness.”

“First impressions mean a lot. You need energy and drive if you are going to succeed in an apprenticeship and as a tradesperson. You need to listen and learn from what people say to you.”

4. Louise Azzopardi, trainer and assessor

Louise Azzopardi, trainer and assessor It took five applications for Louise Azzopardi to secure her heavy vehicle mechanical apprenticeship. It was with the same company where she’d done work experience, and Louise believes this played a big part in getting her over the line.

“I applied for the position online with my resume and cover letter,” says the 23-year-old, who completed her Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology apprenticeship in 2016 and is now herself a trainer and assessor in the field. “I then got called in for a one-on-one interview, where I completed an aptitude test beforehand. In the interview, I was asked a lot of, ‘If this happened what would you do?’ type questions. I was also asked to explain a mechanical part. Doing work experience definitely helped as the workplace already knew how I worked.”

In her initial search, Louise tried a mix of things: she looked online, attended apprenticeship expos and approached some employer workshops in person. “Big companies usually recruit at expos and small companies like people to approach them,” she says. When a rejection letter would come through, Louise would console herself by saying she was “just waiting for the one that fits right”.


“Ask to do work experience. Then if you like it, see if there is a position at the end of the time. Do practice aptitude tests. Dress appropriately for the work environment — in a workshop environment, wear closed-in practical shoes, neat pants and a comfortable, neat shirt.”

And to make a good impression in your first week in your apprenticeship? “Ask heaps of questions and offer to do the tasks you are comfortable with.”

5. Kristjan Blacka, project support officer

Kristjan Blacka, project support officer For Kristjan Blacka, giving himself permission to pursue an apprenticeship was almost as big a challenge as securing one. Based on the NSW South Coast, Kris had spent much of his early career in childcare—something family and friends deemed a more suitable pursuit.

“I’d done a Bachelor of General Education Studies and a Diploma in Early Childcare, but I wasn’t happy,” says the 37-year-old. “I had always wanted to do something more hands-on and mechanically minded.”

Fed up with being miserable and stuck in a job that “everyone else thought I should have”, Kris took the leap. He enrolled in a pre-apprenticeship course in vehicle maintenance and repair, and began applying for apprenticeship positions. “I lost count of how many mechanical-based apprenticeships I applied for. Most of the time I didn’t even get call backs or anything,” he says, “I’d all but given up hope.”

Then Kris’s teacher mentioned that group training organisation HVTC was looking for candidates for a fitter/machinist with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). “It wasn’t the exact position I wanted, but I was definitely still interested and so put my best foot forward,” he says. “It’s lead me to not just having a job with ANTSO, but a career!”

In 2014, aged 32, Kris started his Certificate III in Engineering—Mechanical Trade. The apprenticeship has since led to other opportunities, with Kris now working as a computerised maintenance management system support officer for ANSTO. “Without the trade knowledge and attention to detail I gained from my apprenticeship, I wouldn’t be able to do my current job as well as I do now,” he says.


“Always be yourself and don’t give up on your dreams. If you can, enrol in VET courses that will increase your chances of securing that dream apprenticeship as you will learn so much and prove to potential employers that you are keen and interested.”

“If you’re really passionate, opportunity and success will come”

“If you’re really passionate, opportunity and success will come”

rom Vivid Sydney to Hollywood movies and commercial TV, VET graduate Sebastian Barkoczy’s creative career is thriving.

It’s a bright autumn morning in suburban Sydney and Sebastian Barkoczy is putting a drone camera through its paces. The designer, TV presenter and VET graduate is filming for Get Clever, a Channel 7 show that encourages kids to explore and enjoy science.

For the episode, Sebastian has created a drone obstacle course complete with a blower vac, liquid nitrogen and sliced up pool noodles. “We’re using everyday items to test the scientific factors that enable a drone to fly,” explains the 34-year-old, who also works on Channel 7’s companion program, Get Arty. “It’s all about exploring technology through art, and inspiring kids.”

“Work out what you’re passionate about and follow that. Don’t worry about the ‘best’ or ‘most employable’ option—if you’re really passionate about the area you’re choosing, opportunity and success will come.”

VET opens doors to opportunity

‘TV presenter’ was never a job Sebastian expected to include on his CV. After high school, he spent three years overseas, working odd jobs to “just keep the travelling going”. Back home in Sydney, he fell into hospitality and retail, but, “I had no direction, no goals—I was just working to pay my bills.”

At 24, he decided to see if he could turn his love of building and making things into a career. He enrolled in a Certificate III in Design Fundamentals, then went on to complete an Advanced Diploma of Live Production, Theatre and Events.

“VET changed my life 100%,” he says. “It gave me direction, confidence, skills. Being a bit older, I was really ready to commit and I saw it as an opportunity.”

Since graduating in 2016, Sebastian has featured in the Vivid Sydney festival, worked on live events and music videos, and built sets and props for television and film, including Hollywood blockbusters Alien: Covenant and Pacific Rim: Uprising.

VET delivers the skills to succeed

Sebastian believes a key benefit of VET is how ‘real’ it is. “You learn what it takes to work under pressure with a team of people with varying skills, abilities and work ethic,” he says. “The teachers are all industry aligned and the learning and the facilities, it’s very similar to the real world.”

“Everyone in the industry wants a VET graduate,” he continues. “It’s their ability to walk onto a job site and know how to use the tools, know what’s expected. It’s a great transition into professional life.”

Self-employed, Sebastian works across a range of projects and contracts (at the moment he’s juggling the Channel 7 gig with another converting an inner city warehouse into a lush Buddhist temple-inspired bar). He relies on industry contacts and word of mouth to get his next job. “So far, that’s been my experience of the creative industry,” he says. “You’re as good as your last job and it’s all who you know.”

Navigating the gig economy

For anyone working in the ‘gig economy’, passion is important. As is resilience. “It can be difficult and uncertain, and financially it can be really hard,” says Sebastian. “I think you’ve just got to be really proactive—you’ve got to work hard in every job, leave a good impression—and I think more work will come.”

Of course, the ‘unknown’ is also part of the appeal. “You never know where you’re going to be in the next week or next few months,” says Sebastian. “There’s an element of spontaneity to the creative industries, which is part of the excitement.”

Hunter electricians shine at HVTC Awards

Hunter electricians shine at HVTC Awards

Two Hunter based electrical apprentices have been recognised at HVTC’s annual Excellence Awards, which were held in Newcastle on Friday, 3 May 2019.  

Daniel Beavan, who is currently employed as an electrical fitter at Origin Energy’s Eraring Power Station, was named HVTC’s Apprentice of the Year. The Award, which was sponsored by Howden Australia, was selected from finalists across HVTC’s nine regional branches located throughout New South Wales.  

“I was over the moon to have been named HVTC’s Apprentice of the Year. It’s a huge honour to receive this Award,” Daniel said. 


Meanwhile Phoebe Giadresco, a first-year electrical apprentice hosted to Liebherr-Australia, received the inaugural Milton Morris Encouragement Award.  

Sponsored by Glencore, this Award was created in honour of HVTC’s founding Chairman, the Honourable Milton Morris AO, who passed away in February of this year.  

“It is such an honour to be the first recipient of the Milton Morris Encouragement Award,” Phoebe said. 

“It means a great deal to me to be acknowledged by HVTC and my trainers for my efforts and commitment to completing the Electrical Accelerated program with HVTC. This program provided the skills and knowledge for me to be confident and successful in obtaining an apprenticeship as a female in a non-traditional trade.”  

Despite being at different ends of their apprenticeship journeys, Daniel and Phoebe were both pursuing other career paths before making the switch to the electrical trade.  

Already a qualified fitter machinist, Daniel decided he wanted a dual trade under his belt, so he commenced an electrical apprenticeship with HVTC in 2016.  

Initially hosted by Donaldson Coal, Daniel was rotated to Origin when the mine went into care and maintenance. Since completing his apprenticeship in December, Daniel has gained a full-time role with Origin and is grateful for the opportunities and support he received as an HVTC apprentice.  

Phoebe commenced the NEWSTEP program in the hopes of pursuing Nutrition, but soon realised that university wasn’t for her. Following in her father’s footsteps, Phoebe decided she wanted to become an electrician and enrolled in the electrical Accelerated Program with HVTC to boost her chances of securing an apprenticeship.  

During the course, she successfully applied for an electrical apprenticeship with Liebherr-Australia.  

HVTC CEO, Sharon Smith congratulated Daniel and Phoebe on their awards, which showcase the calibre of the organisation’s workforce.  

“Every year at the HVTC Excellence Awards, we celebrate the achievements of our apprentices, trainees, students and the many host employers we partner with to deliver skills training and employment opportunities across NSW,” Smith said.  

“The achievements of apprentices like Daniel and Phoebe are proof that VET pathways lead to successful careers.  

“Daniel took the initiative to undertake another four years of training after already completing one apprenticeship, making a lot of sacrifices for the betterment of his skills and long-term career aspirations.  

“Throughout his apprenticeship, Daniel was consistently praised for his leadership and communication skills, passion for learning and his work ethic and it is unsurprising he was offered a permanent role with Origin.  

“Similarly, Phoebe took it upon herself to complete an electrical pre-apprenticeship course to gain introductory electrical trade knowledge and skills.  

“Phoebe now attends the Work Readiness program at HVTC 4 days per week and is on site at Libeherr-Australia each Friday. Her tenacity and commitment to improving her career opportunities epitomises the characteristics Milton Morris would have been delighted to support and she is a deserving winner of this award.  

“I wish Daniel all the best in his career and look forward to supporting Phoebe through her remaining years as an HVTC apprentice. They both have a bright future ahead of them.”  

IMAGE | Daniel Beavan shines at HVTC 2019 Awards 


Back to News 5 skills you’ll learn as an apprentice that will take you through life

5 skills you'll learn as an apprentice that will take you through life

Fee-free apprenticeships are a proven pathway to employment, job satisfaction, happiness and higher self-esteem. Alongside technical knowledge and on-the-job experience, apprenticeships deliver what experts call ‘employability’ skills—these are core skills needed in every workplace.

Electrical apprentice Jacob Malcolm

According to Federal Government research, around 70% of employers place as much emphasis on employability skills as they do technical ones. Research also shows that building employability skills can fast-track a young person’s journey to full-time work by as much as 17 months.

Read on to discover the five employability skills you’ll learn as an apprentice that will not only help in every job you’ll ever have, but help you weather the ups and downs of life too.

1. Teamwork

If you play or follow sport, you’ve probably heard the expression ‘a team of champions doesn’t make for a champion team’.

The idea is the same for apprentices, especially in your first years, when you’ll learn that you play an important role in achieving team goals.

For 2018 Australian and NSW Apprentice of the Year Michael Edwards, this meant never being afraid to ask questions and seek clarification before starting a task. “Paying great attention to others’ plans and ideas, and then working with them to get the best outcome were key,” says the mature-aged apprentice, who completed a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician.

2. Leadership

For Sydney-based Bianca Caires, who recently completed a Certificate III in Hairdressing, learning her trade and then passing on her knowledge to fellow staff and classmates was a major boost.

“As I trained more, my confidence grew and my positivity started to show,” says the 19-year-old. “Students started to ask me for help, which in turn made me feel more positive about my skills.”

Passion and confidence are contagious — and they’re also the foundation for great leadership. Apprenticeships can help bring out the best in you, in fact, research has shown that apprentices feel happier and have a higher sense of self-esteem than young people in other post-school pathways.

3. Resilience

Being resilient means being able to cope with ups and downs, and bounce back from challenges.

It’s one of the key skills the Federal Government believes will be important for the jobs of the future.

Mistakes, uncertainty and setbacks are all part of the journey of life and work, and apprenticeships offer young people a dynamic opportunity to adapt, grow and develop.

Take 23-year-old pastry chef Samantha Trotter. In high school, she couldn’t find an apprenticeship in her hometown of Cooma, in the Snowy Mountains region of NSW. So, Samantha broadened her search to the Illawarra and Southern Highlands. After a work experience stint at the Gumnut Patisserie in Mittagong, Samantha stayed in touch with the owners.

“Fortunately they were pleased with my performance. I kept in contact with them while I completed my HSC and began my apprenticeship in January 2014.”

Samantha studied a Certificate III in Retail Baking (Cake and Pastry)

4. Digital literacy

If there’s anywhere young people have the leg up it’s their social media savvy and quick uptake of technology.

Technology is rapidly changing the work landscape and employees need to keep up – including apprentices in ‘traditional trades’.

“I’ve seen incredible adoption of new technology in the industry in a short space of time,” says Jacob Malcolm, 22, who is completing an electrical apprenticeship. “I can see incredible benefits in using technology to improve processes and increase efficiency.”

Find out more about Jacob’s apprenticeship course:  Certificate III Electrotechnology Electrician.

5. Communication

Apprentice working in fabrication tradeAt its heart, good communication is all about being able to listen and understand, and get across your own ideas, opinions and requests.

As an apprentice, you’ll cross paths with mentors, managers, teachers, colleagues and customers. All will expect you to understand them, provide information or complete tasks.

“The knowledge and skills I learnt during my apprenticeship has enhanced my ability to communicate,” says Thomas Burn, 18, who completed a school-based apprenticeship in Merimbula on the NSW South Coast.  His qualification:  a Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade.

Good communication takes a lot of practice, but it’s a skill that will make your relationships stronger and more rewarding.

How to impress as an apprentice

If you’re looking for an apprenticeship — or being interviewed for one — here are some of the key attributes employers’ value in a young job seeker:

  • Positive attitude
  • Willingness to learn
  • Happy and able to take direction
  • Reliable and punctual
  • Respectful

VET opens doors to opportunities.  It is a proven pathway to a range of diverse and well-paid careers. With 100,000  fee-free apprenticeships and subsidised traineeships on offer, now is the perfect time to explore a career.

Want a 91% chance of getting a job? Start with a trade apprenticeship

Want a 91% chance of getting a job? Start with a trade apprenticeship

Taking on a trade apprenticeship through VET is a great career and lifestyle move. Just ask Wollongong-based carpenter Owen Isedale, who got his start with a school-based apprenticeship and would “100 per cent recommend it”.

“I was sort of interested in leaving school at that point, but I also wanted to get my HSC,” says the now 20-year-old. “The flexibility of going to work two days – and knowing I would leave school and start an apprenticeship – made the HSC easier.”

With so much valuable experience already under his belt, Owen completed his Certificate III in Carpentry a year early and is now studying a Certificate IV in Building and Construction, with the aim to one day run his own business and specialise in extensions and renovations.

His favourite thing about his apprenticeship was the variety of work each day. “There was always something to learn,” he says.

Trade apprenticeships offer:

  • great employment outcomes, with 91.2% of graduates in a trade occupation course employed after training
  • no HECS debt
  • an impressive salary, with many apprentices taking home more than $120,000 over the four years of their training.

According to research, apprentices also feel happier and have a higher sense of self-esteem and general wellbeing than young people in other post-school pathways. Plus 91% of VET graduates would recommend their training to others.

What’s a trade apprenticeship?

A trade is an occupation that requires specialised skills you can only learn on the job – like carpentry, plumbing or bricklaying.

A trade apprenticeship is a training contract between a student, an employer and a VET provider. Most take 3-4 years and combine on-the-job training with classroom study to deliver you the skills and experience employers need.

Fee-free training

There’s never been a better time to do a trade. Skilled workers are in-demand across NSW and the NSW Government is offering 100,000 fee-free apprenticeships, meaning no upfront costs for training.

Open doors to opportunity

VET opens doors to opportunities to a range of well-paid jobs across the construction and infrastructure industry. Start with these 10 VET trade apprenticeships, or browse our course finder for more.

VET Review: Thoughts from the expert reviewer

VET Review: Thoughts from the expert reviewer

The lead of the Independent Review into Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector has revealed some of his findings to date.

The Australian Government announced the Review in November last year and appointed former New Zealand skills minister Steven Joyce to lead it.

Speaking to The Australian, Mr Joyce said one of the key recommendations of his review will be to address what he sees as a bias against vocational education in favour of universities.

Mr Joyce said he was surprised by the lack of information on VET pathways being provided to school leavers.

Read the full story on The Australian’s website.

In another interview with The Australian Financial Review, Mr Joyce has of his findings so far, confusion over funding was one of the most significant.

Read the full story on The Australian Financial Review’s website.

Mr Joyce spent January meeting with stakeholders and will continue his consultations in February. He will report to the Government in March.


Going to uni? Get a head start with VET

Going to uni? Get a head start with VET

Going to uni is an exciting time – it’s the start of a whole new life. There are plenty of friends to meet and great subjects that will help you set out on your career.

But a uni degree doesn’t guarantee you a job. In fact, research shows that the average time it now takes a young person to transition from education to full-time work is almost 5 years.

That same research also revealed that building skills like problem-solving, communication and teamwork while you study, can fast-track getting a job by 17 months. Having relevant paid employment on your CV can speed it up by 12 months.

A VET traineeship gives you all these and more – it opens doors to opportunities in a wide range of industries including infrastructure and construction, healthcare, education and the creative industries.

If you’re thinking of taking a gap year, a traineeship is a great option.

What’s a traineeship?

It’s a bit like an apprenticeship, where you work a few days and study one day, learning the skills you need to get ahead.

Traineeships are available in a range of industries, including law, accounting, marketing, business administration, engineering, nursing, project management, advertising and media, and more.

The skills and experience you get – not to mention the nationally recognised qualification – will give your CV a boost and could even count as points towards your degree.

In return, you’ll get paid a wage and have the chance to make connections that could help you land a job after you graduate.

What’s it cost?

Under the NSW Government’s Smart and Skilled program, traineeship fees won’t be more than $1,000 – and that’s for the whole course, not just the semester, so it’s great value.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

How do I start?

First you’ll need to find yourself a traineeship, or someone who’s prepared to offer you a job as a trainee. Start by searching vacancies on job seeker websites or on Skillsroad or iworkforNSW, which is the NSW Government employment site. Filter your search using the term ‘trainee’.

You can also find a traineeship through a Group Training Organisation.  They’re a bit like a recruitment agency, and will help you with your training while you work for a ‘host’ employer.  Find out more here.

When you’ve secured a traineeship, you can then enrol in a traineeship course – browsing all 520 available traineeship courses on Smart and Skilled.

For more information, visit Training Services NSW’s traineeships information page.

2018 NSW Training Awards Winners

2018 NSW Training Awards Winners

Last night we celebrated the 2018 NSW Training Awards. From a trainee mixing on-the-job training with her HSC, to a mature-age apprentice killing it on his second trade, our winners will inspire you. Read their stories of success through vocational education and training (VET) and then open the door to hundreds of opportunities.

Apprentice of the Year – Michael Edwards

After 15 years as a motor mechanic, mature-age apprentice Michael was given the opportunity by his employer, Snowy Hydro Limited, to take on a second trade. He completed a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician with acclaim, taking out the TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga Campus apprentice of the year in 2017.

Michael displays exemplary commitment as a mature-age apprentice with a young family, and is described as an “extremely valuable” employee due to his double qualification. Snowy Hydro is now looking to help qualify him further for his work with a Certificate IV in Industrial Automation and Diploma of Electrical Engineering.

Trainee of the Year – Tara Proberts-Roberts

Early on, Tara’s supervisors on the WestConnex New M5 project recognised her potential and ability to excel when challenged. The Sydney-based civil construction trainee, who had worked previously in banking and childcare, continues to impress with her hunger to learn.

She’s complemented her Certificate II in Civil Construction studies with extra tickets and plant training, and plans to continue her education through VET.

A proud Aboriginal woman, Tara is a role model for her family and community, and thrilled with her life’s direction. “I will tell anyone to get a job in construction—it has changed the way I look at myself, my confidence and self-worth.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year – Tarnisha Winsor

Running the 2017 NAIDOC celebrations for the Upper Hunter Shire Council has been the pinnacle of Merriwa Central School Year 12 student Tarnisha’s blossoming career so far.

The 17-year-old school captain and SRC president was also the recipient of the Peter Hilder Memorial Award for an Indigenous VET student, and the Upper Hunter Shire Young Citizen of the Year 2018.

She credits her opportunities, accolades and growing confidence to her school based traineeship with the council and Certificate II in Business through Tamworth Public Schools. “I feel overwhelmed by the community’s faith in me and the encouragement I’ve received.”

School-based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year – Lucy Allen

“Nursing is an industry where I go home knowing I have made some sort of difference in someone’s life,” says 18-year-old Lucy, who is undertaking a school based traineeship for a Certificate III  in Health Services Assistance through TAFE NSW Hunter RTO.

Employed by Hunter New England Local Health District, the Maitland Grossman High School student is, “often mistaken for a registered nurse due to her knowledge and maturity level,” says manager Martin Losurdo. Lucy, too, feels she has found her calling and is excited for future opportunities through VET. “A traineeship is the most perfect way to incorporate school, work and working towards a qualification.”

VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year – Belinda Maudson

Sydney-based Belinda has spent 13 years teaching Illustration and Production Design at TAFE NSW’s Design Centre Enmore. From supervising students until 2 am to make the opening deadline for VIVID Sydney, to organising an intimate Q&A session with the production designer of acclaimed television series Games of Thrones, her dedication, initiative and ‘never say no’ approach shines through.

Belinda has developed customised courses to meet skills gaps in the entertainment industry, and works tirelessly to leverage her professional relationships within film, television, theatre and events to deliver the skills, support and opportunities students

VET in Schools Student of the Year – Kieran Sullivan

Kieran has not only shone in his studies for Certificates II and III in Agriculture, the 18-year-old Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School boarding school prefect is now confident enough to help others learn. In 2017, Kieran won the Arthur Heath Memorial Scholarship for outstanding results in agriculture and scored a University of New England industry placement scholarship with a veterinary research company.

This year he was an associate judge at Armidale Cattle Show. Kieran says what has impacted him most from his study is the necessity for sustainability in agriculture, and to understand the effects of chemical use on the environment.

Vocational Student of the Year – Katayoon Karimodini

Katayoon (Kathy) finished her Diploma in Community Services through TAFE NSW in 2017 with outstanding results. Described as reliable and caring with a great sense of humour, Kathy, an Iranian immigrant now living on the Central Coast, works part-time as a multicultural social support coordinator and volunteers at Northern Women’s Health Centre and Wesley Mission.

Her qualification taught her that self-care when dealing with the problems of others is critical.

“I learnt that I should recognise my strengths and weaknesses, identify my needs, set a target, make a plan, ask for help and find out all the options, then just keep going and never give up.”

Phil Darby Memorial Award – Encouragement Award for Apprentice or Trainee – Michelle Brown

It was TAFE NSW’s practical, ‘hands on’ style of learning that prompted Michelle, a disability support worker and former teacher, to undertake a Diploma of Visual Arts in 2017.

Determined to develop her confidence and creativity, the 46-year-old was quick to make a positive impression on her teachers and fellow students. This was only heightened when Michelle, who lives with multiple sclerosis, experienced a worsening of her condition and became confined to a wheelchair. True to her nature, Michelle used these events as a source of inspiration, and developed a body of work that saw her earn attention and acclaim in the creative sector. Today’s she’s proud to call herself an ‘emerging artist’.

Michelle was selected as an artist for ‘Front Up’, a workshop for artists living with disability run by the Art Gallery of NSW, and earned a residency at the Little Orange Arts Studio in the Campbelltown Arts Centre. Michelle credits the skills and confidence she gained through VET for the accolades she has achieved to date as an artist in the Greater Western Sydney region.

Special Award for a Woman in a Non-Traditional Trade or Vocation – Tayla Constable

Working in the physically demanding, male-dominated rural contracting industry in Central West NSW, Tayla has drawn strength, conviction and inspiration from her agricultural studies at TAFE NSW. She has also used her studies to help build a successful rural contracting business.

As a child on the mid-north coast, Tayla would follow her grandfather around on her family’s small acreage, helping him tend the horses and fix flood crossings. She knew early on that agriculture was her passion and future. As a young woman, she moved to Tamworth then Coolah and worked hard — often for less than award — to establish a reputation in the industry.

Tayla chose TAFE NSW for the expertise and flexibility it affords, allowing her to continue working as she expanded her knowledge and competency. Having completed Certificate III in Agriculture and Certificate IV in Agriculture and a Diploma in Agriculture, Tayla is now working towards an Advanced Diploma of Agribusiness Management. She believes VET plays an integral role in the future of the industry.

The tradies earning more than doctors

THEY might not be wearing flash clothes, but some Aussies are earning huge dollars – and you don’t have to go to uni for years.

TO EARN big dollars these days you don’t have to spend years at uni.

Tradies are pulling in huge amounts of cash, but the riches aren’t spread evenly among them.

Not only do they have to work hard, they have to be smart about building their business.

When Adrian Fadini started his plumbing business 25 years ago, he was full of youthful vigour and enthusiasm. ‘Plumber to the Rescue’ had plenty of clients, but Fadini was admittedly “clueless” about what rates he should be charging.

As an apprentice, his boss had been charging $90 an hour, so Fadini charged $80 an hour.

But he admits “there was no logic behind that rate.

“I think 99 per cent of tradies doing an apprenticeship for a boss are in the same position I was. They’ve never worked out what their fixed costs are, they’ve never worked what their labour rates are for their tradespeople and inherently the sums are stuffed up from day one,” Mr Fadini told news.com.au

Adrian Fadini said he had no clue what to charge for his work when he first started as a plumber.

Adrian Fadini said he had no clue what to charge for his work when he first started as a plumber.Source:Supplied

“No matter how hard you work, you dig yourself into a hole where your tax isn’t paid, debts aren’t paid and all of a sudden you don’t have enough money to pay anyone and your world comes crashing down.”

Mr Fadini’s world did come crashing down. At the time his wife was pregnant, and he was absolutely devastated when he had to sell the family home just to pay his debts.

He saw some business coaches, but realised they knew nothing about trades. So he did the research himself, talking to other successful tradies.

Mr Fadini started over, and now he’s on a mission to ensure tradies steer clear of financial and family hardship, and become more business savvy than ever.

“Six years after I sold my house I was able to sell my business to one of my biggest competitors who has now rebranded to my brand, Plumber to the Rescue. I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through.”

MORE: They have starting salaries of $140k, so why aren’t there more tradies?

MORE: The highest paid trades. Removalists are at the top of the list.

Mr Fadini’s latest venture with fellow tradie Matt Jones is Tradiematepro — a digital toolbox that gives tradies the support and resources they need.

“The first thing we do with a client is pull out a profit maximiser worksheet and we start to work out the basics; your expenses, your overheads, what you need to be charging,” Mr Fadini said.

Matt Jones is no longer on the tools himself, instead helps other tradies make the most of their businesses.

Matt Jones is no longer on the tools himself, instead helps other tradies make the most of their businesses.Source:Supplied

“If they say, ‘My clients won’t pay that, it’s too high,’ I tell them they need to work out what their niche is — you can’t be just an average plumber if you’re going to charge 30 per cent higher.”


It sounds like something a successful sales person would attend: a conference in the Maldives to a learn a little more about their business.

But this is exactly where a group of tradies headed to lately — tradies who want to run a successful business.

“Most tradies hate school so why would you have lessons in a classroom? We’re outdoor guys, we love the ocean and the great outdoors, and that’s also when children tend to learn the most — so there’s no reason tradies can’t go on a luxury trip just like other high flying business people do,” Mr Fadini said, after Tradiematepro organised the trip.

“I see ourselves as being pioneers for tradies, replacing the classroom with a boat in the Maldives.”

It wasn’t all work.

It wasn’t all work.Source:Supplied


News.com.au contacted the ABS to see if tradies really are earning more than doctors. And we were shocked to find that in many cases, they are.

When we asked the (very helpful) people at the ABS about how much the average Australian GP earns we were taken to the detailed depths of the site.

After navigating our way through a labyrinth of figures, the ABS led us to a chart with great details about the earnings of a variety of professions. The statistics show that an Aussie GP at the top of his/her game and working full time can earn as much as $156k.

Great money, no doubt. But it’s still less than a lot of tradies make.

A removalist, who does not need to spend seven or more years at uni, can earn $93 an hour. If he (in most cases it is a he) works an average 40 hour week, that’s $193k per year. Not bad for lifting boxes.

In most parts of Australia there’s a huge trade shortage, so they are in big demand. It’s not uncommon for starting salaries to be $140k. And more experienced and specialised tradespeople can charge more.

The recent ‘tradie rich list’ has removalists at the top of the game. But other tradies are also doing well. In second place were plumbers, earning $83.04 per hour, followed by electricians, handymen and carpenters.

Matt Jones started out as a plumber, but now spends his days building websites and marketing solutions for tradies. He helped coach the guys who took the Maldives trip.

“Everyone was taught about the importance of organisational chart structure, how to structure your business, and how to use tech to follow up on proposals. There’s a lot of money to be made as a tradie, but if you don’t have all the business tools in place from the beginning, you can get yourself into financial trouble without the right support,” Jones told news.com.au.

“These days there’s definitely a shift from people wanting to go to uni and get a degree, to learning a trade.

The myths about being a tradie and that you can’t make serious money are slowly being dispelled.”

The crew that travelled to the Maldives not only had a great time, they learned about how to make the best of their trade.

The crew that travelled to the Maldives not only had a great time, they learned about how to make the best of their trade.Source:Supplied

Cable locator Ben Minutoli is just one success story and he’s one of the most tech savvy tradies around; he even had a Youtube channel (and employs a video editor) to show people exactly what his job involves.

His office is paperless, everything is via phone and cloud computing. His staff are based in Geelong, but he has admin in Philippines, a ‘web guy’ in India and a video editor in Canada.

“I took over the business from my father, who couldn’t even turn a computer on, so we’ve come a long way. Today much of the success of tradies is thanks to the internet — we can all learn from each other how to build a successful business,” Minutoli said.

“I want up and coming tradies to know that you can make good money. In the past, tradies would try to keep everything secret and didn’t want to share their knowledge. These days you’re happy to help out your fellow tradie.”

Mr Minutoli urges other tradies to see the bigger picture and also get more involved on social media.

“Get on Instagram — I deal with a huge amount of clients on there. Jump on Facebook and Linkedin forums and learn from your peers, especially tradies from interstate and overseas — they’re not your competition and they want to help you succeed. If we all succeed it’s going to be a better industry for everyone.”

Original Article: “https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/careers/the-tradies-earning-more-than-doctors/news-story/f92f7b1b410c9496ceb7c537594c077d”