Earn while you learn
Young adults contemplating life after school face a similar dilemma: go to university, get a degree, and potentially rack up a huge student loan. Or find a career path that lets you earn while you learn.
At 23 years of age, Michael Abel is already convinced he made the right choice.
“Uni’s good fun socially with your mates, but doing this was not only good fun,” he said. “I’ve learnt heaps of life skills and I do seem to be getting ahead in life compared to the guys who went to uni. They’re still trying to catch up and get themselves sorted, while I’m miles ahead.”
Michael chose to take up a trade as soon as he left school, enrolling in a National Certificate of Mechanical Engineering. His dedication and smarts caught the eye of dairy giant Fonterra, which employed him as an engineering apprentice.
One advantage of learning a trade is the opportunities it presents nationally and globally – especially when working with a large multinational like Fonterra.
But it’s not just the career prospects with the company that have Michael convinced he’s made the right decision.
“I can go anywhere in the world with this qualification and pick up work,” he says. “Opportunity-wise, it’s huge. I can essentially choose the place in the world I want to go, and go there.”
Michael Abel, an apprentice engineer at Fonterra.