Look­ing for­ward

Con­sider what you will learn, not what you are paid, writes Lauren Ah­wan

The Advertiser - Careers - - Training -

LOW ap­pren­tice wages paid in the first years of train­ing should not de­ter would-be tradies from pur­su­ing what can be a lu­cra­tive and in­de­mand ca­reer.

Group train­ing provider MI­GAS NSW/Vic­to­ria state man­ager Nick Couper con­cedes ap­pren­tices and trainees do have it tough fi­nan­cially and it can be a hin­drance for some to pur­sue an ap­pren­tice­ship. But he says the pay im­proves when they reach their third year of train­ing.

In the mean­time, as­sis­tance is avail­able for el­i­gi­ble ap­pren­tices who are strug­gling to make ends meet.

‘‘ There’s adult wage sub­si­dies for adults who may have fam­i­lies to sup­port, liv­ing away from home al­lowance and travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion al­lowances if you have to travel a cer­tain dis­tance for train­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘ There’s also the tools for trade pay­ment, where you can get up to $1000 a year. And there’s over­time avail­able.

‘‘ De­pend­ing on your trade, things do start to get eas­ier some­where around the third or fourth year – you might go from earn­ing $8 or $9 an hour to $13 to $15 an hour.’’

‘‘( Af­ter fin­ish­ing an ap­pren­tice­ship) you could be earn­ing $70 to $80 an hour. ( An ap­pren­tice­ship) is an in­vest­ment in some­one’s ca­reer.’’

Zack Ca­vanagh, 20, is a third-year elec­tri­cal engi­neer­ing ap­pren­tice with O’Donnell Grif­fin and is com­plet­ing his train­ing at TAFE SA, which is teach­ing students about cut­ting edge C-Bus tech­nol­ogy.

It shows students how to in­stall and pro­gram sys­tems that con­trol lighting and other elec­tri­cal de­vices from the in­ter­net or a smart phone.

‘‘ Heaps of in­dus­trial ware­houses are in­stalling (C-Bus) now so learn­ing all this is pretty im­por­tant,’’ he says.

‘‘ And get­ting paid (to learn through an ap­pren­tice­ship) is al­ways bet­ter.’’

Pic­ture: Naomi Jel­li­coe

ON COURSE: Elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer ap­pren­tice Zack Ca­vanagh.

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