After 15 years working as a motor mechanic, Michael’s employer, Snowy Hydro Limited offered him the opportunity to take on a second trade as a mature-aged apprentice.
“The first trade taught me a lot of life skills and made me a very practical person and took me a long way through life,” he said.
“Even when I wasn’t working in that trade, with all the other jobs I have had, it (the skills) have applied really well. It made the transition into another trade really easy.”
Michael completed a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician, taking out the TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga Campus apprentice of the year in 2017.
He was the recipient of the Australian Apprentice of the Year Award at the 2018 Australian Training Awards.
In the final ‘Capstone’ exam for his Australian Apprenticeship, Michael achieved the unprecedented result of 100 per cent in his practical exam and 93 per cent for the knowledge exam. It was the highest mark achieved at Wagga Wagga since the nationally written and validation assessment began.
“I had three kids under six when I started (the electrical apprenticeship), not to mention my wife had returned to full time work. Six months in I thought ‘I shouldn’t be doing this, this is hard’, but if you really want something you will find a way to get through it,” he said.
“There was a lot of juggling.”
Michael believes vocational training and education is for everyone, and his wife is undertaking a VET course, retraining as a hospitality teacher while she works.
“The support network available in VET makes it possible for anyone, in any stage of life, to pursue the career they desire,” he said.
“I’m very passionate about this. One of my children has learning difficulties and is battling through school, but when school finishes they can still have the career of their choice, thanks to the support available in the VET sector.”
Michael is a member of the Australian VET Alumni and is also an Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador within the Alumni.
Book a VET Alumni member
To invite Michael to share his success story at your event please contact VETAlumni@education.gov.au.