Meet an apprentice
Andrew — Certificate III in Carpentry
Why did you choose to complete an apprenticeship?
I decided to complete an apprenticeship as I prefer hands-on, physical work. I chose carpentry as there are so many different aspects to it and it's always very challenging.
What were the best elements of your apprenticeship?
I found my apprenticeship through a friend who is also a carpenter. One great thing about a trade is that it's generally very easy to find work through mutual acquaintances, especially once you've been in the industry for a few years.
What did you learn that you didn't expect? Were there any surprises?
I found I learnt the most when working on very old homes, doing renovations and extensions. It also helps to never be afraid to ask a question, if you're not sure just ask, it's the best way to learn.
I think at the very start I didn't think that carpentry would be so vast. Almost six years after I started my apprenticeship, I'm still learning new things and re-learning new ways for things that I already know.
Where has the apprenticeship led you?
Completing my apprenticeship has led me to start my own small business. I've always loved a challenge and when working for yourself, all responsibility is on you. Taking ownership of my work is incredibly rewarding.
Before I started my business, I tried to get as much advice from other carpenters and tradesmen who had started their own businesses. It was a great way to learn from their experiences, especially where they had made good or bad decisions in the past and how it affected them and their business.
One piece of advice I could give is to be patient. You will know when it's the right time to go out on your own, but don't expect it to be easy or think that it's going to happen overnight. It's a slow process, but eventually you build a strong client base and the contracts start coming in on their own.
What advice would you give to students considering an apprenticeship?
I always found that it was very important to get along with who you work for, don't be afraid to make mistakes because it's how you learn and remember, and the key to being a good tradesman is enthusiasm and effort.