Alan Waldron is the National Training Manager of Hutchinson Builders, one of the largest commercial building companies in Australia.
He knows first-hand the value of Australian Apprenticeships - for both an individual, and a business, having completed an Australian Apprenticeship himself, and currently being responsible for the training needs of more than 1400 employees across Australia, including more than 120 Australian Apprentices and Cadets.
"I left school in Year 10, completed an Australian Apprenticeship and became a diesel mechanic," Alan said.
"Whilst I eventually ended up with a university degree, I was never really that comfortable with the world of pure academics.
"At that time, the training system suited me, because it gave me a relevant context for learning."
Alan believes that investing in Australian Apprentices helps a company increase their productivity, capacity and bottom line.
"No matter what the size of a business, hiring apprentices is a decision that can only enhance the capability of an organisation - in particular, its longevity and future," he said.
"Training apprentices is a contribution that is rewarding both personally and financially for any employer."
To businesses thinking of hiring Australian Apprentices, Alan encourages them to visit an Australian Apprenticeships Centre in their region.
"There are Australian Apprenticeships Centres all over Australia, who can help you with the contract of employment with your apprentice, and all the paperwork, it's not a difficult process," he said.
To people thinking of undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship while still at school, after school or to change careers, Alan has this advice: "A trade is not the end of the journey, but the very beginning," he said.
"It's important that people are aware of all the pathways available and the potential of training to accelerate their careers. There are huge opportunities that come from Australian Apprenticeships.
"If you take my career, for example. My Australian Apprenticeship led to a number of tertiary and VET courses including an education degree and a Diploma of Business Administration and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment which allowed me to have a career in education and to go on to train apprentices. They all contributed to my success."
In 2011, Hutchinson Builders entered the Employer of the Year Award at the state level. They won, and then went on to win the Australian Training Award of the same category. They are now the national title holder for the category, positioning them as an employer of choice, nationally.