Apprentice finds the key to interesting career
JUST one year ago, job-seeker Lewis Meredith had no idea he could be an apprentice locksmith, and in fact didn’t even know such an apprenticeship existed. So he’s not only super pleased that Dubbo City Locksmiths took him on, but also super grateful to the Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) for telling him about the opportunity, and helping him prepare his application.
“I went to school over at Delroy and then I went up to Senior Campus, then I was looking for a job for a couple of months and then I signed up to AES and a week later they’d got me the job here, so not that long,” Lewis said.
“If the AES hadn’t told me about this I never would have thought of getting a job in locksmithing, but I said I’d try it and I like it.
“I didn’t know there was a locksmithing trade, I didn’t know you could be an apprentice for locksmithing, so it really surprised me,” he told Dubbo Photo News.
DCL manager John Mannering is also pleased he talked to the AES.
“We needed some staff, full stop, and the Aboriginal Employment Strategy was really helpful and it worked out great. They came down, they supported the young guys and they keep contacting them to make sure they’re going well,” Mr Mannering explained.
“Lewis is going great, he’s been here about eight months and he’s fantastic.
“The AES was great, they really matched us up with the right staff, they had more people than we were looking for but they found the ones that that they thought would suit us,” he said.
Mr Mannering believes he’s saved time and trouble going through the AES, having people he can trust going through resumes and culling the ones where the person wouldn’t be suitable for the job.
“It saved us time and money and I think next time we’re looking for employees, maybe next year some time, we’ll try again for a couple just to keep our apprentices rolling. We’ll go to the AES again I think,” he said.
“It was good for us to go to the AES and tell them we were looking for apprentices and they said they had some people who might suit rather than us just advertising and hoping the right person reads that advertisement.”
Locksmithing may not be as well-known as trades like plumbing, mechanics or building, but there’s still a good training path available. The four-year apprenticeship includes three years of TAFE. One of the main differences compared to better known trades is, rather than doing TAFE one day a week, apprentice locksmiths Apprentice Lewis Meredith with DCL manager John Mannering. Lewis is learning the trade as a locksmith, thanks to a connection provided by the Aboriginal Employment Strategy. PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS
have to travel to Sydney eight times a year for four-day blocks.
“It’s a big commitment,” Mr Mannering said, “But it’s a good trade to have, you develop a lot of skills.”
Lewis said he likes the variety of the job.
“I like the people and it’s not the same thing over and over, it’s always changing,” he said.
“You interact with customers more than in other trades and I enjoy people.”
He said his family members are pleased that he’s launched himself in such a promising career so soon after looking for a job.
“My family are really glad I’m getting a trade and that I’m working,” Lewis said.
“It’s going to make me feel good because I’m going to have a qualification that can be used anywhere. I’m going to have a stable job so I can get a house loan and stuff, it’s pretty good.
“To any other young Aboriginal people, I’d say go to the AES, they helped me get a job, they’ll help you as well,” he said.
Meantime, boss John Mannering says the ongoing mentoring and support from the AES is invaluable.
“It’s very important because a lot of young people may not have had exposure to the workplace before, they don’t know what to expect and sometimes the boss isn’t the best person to talk to, so having someone else that they can talk to is helpful,” he said, pointing out the satisfaction Lewis’ workmates have had seeing him develop over the past eight months.
“When Lewis came in he was very much in his shell, we’ve definitely noticed his confidence has increased.”
He said it’s incredibly satisfying to be able to nurture young people and see them grow in life skills as well as qualifications.
“It’s good to have some guidance over the people who are in our community, to show other people how work can change their lives, and it’s always better to be able to get local people and train them rather than having to get them from elsewhere,” Mr Mannering said