Ap­pren­tice finds the key to in­ter­est­ing ca­reer

Dubbo Photo News - - Dubbo Works - By JOHN RYAN

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

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