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Bathurst Local Strikes Gold with Safe NSW Apprenticeship

With regional NSW facing a major shortage of skilled tradespeople, mechanical engineering apprentice Tristan Hadson knows his TAFE NSW qualification will give him a job for life.

“A trade certificate is worth its weight in gold right now,” he said.

“I feel incredibly lucky that my workplace has invested in me and given me the opportunity to do this apprenticeship. I have been able to complete the study for free under JobTrainer and the skills I am learning at TAFE NSW are skills I can take anywhere.”

The 33-year-old Bathurst local was a qualified chef who decided to make a career change and became a pallet repairer at the CHEP Service Centre, which provides reusable packaging solutions.

Seeing his skill and talent in minor maintenance and repairs, the company offered Tristan the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship and undertake a Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade with TAFE NSW.

Now in his third year, Tristan is the company’s primary fitter and machinist, undertaking vital upkeep and repairs on factory equipment to keep the operation running smoothly. He has also enjoyed roles including forklift operation and being the company’s health and safety committee chairperson.

“The company flagged the opportunity of an apprenticeship with me and I jumped at the chance. It was too good to pass up,” Tristan said.

“The TAFE NSW course provides hands-on, practical skills for fitting and machining in a variety of trade settings. It’s enabled me to bring new expertise onto the CHEP Service Centre floor and improve workplace practices.”

A recent Engineers Australia report – based on data produced by the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business – stated that vacancies for engineers in NSW had grown by a staggering 54 per cent in the 12 months to December 2021.

Meanwhile, the National Skills Commission has determined a national shortage of mechanical engineers and forecasts very strong future demand for anyone thinking of joining the trade.

CHEP Service Centre Manager Phillip Newton said apprenticing good workers like Tristan with TAFE NSW provided staff with the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.

“TAFE NSW is helping us to develop the workforce we need in-house and at a time when it’s so hard to find skilled contractors, it was a great solution for us,” Mr Newton said.

“Tristan has excelled in his new role and we now have the expertise we need right here five days a week, and he’s a truly valued member of our team.”

Tristan said as a mature-age student, TAFE NSW had supported him to learn at his own pace and grow into his new profession.

“The TAFE NSW teachers are open to the fact each student is an individual and learns differently and they are very relatable, which created an environment for me to do well,” Tristan said.

“Being qualified tradespeople themselves, the teachers know these trades inside and out. They are experts in their fields and have provided valuable guidance and direction about where this career could take me in the future. I know I have a job for life.”

Explore hundreds of courses and pursue your passion with life-changing training at TAFE NSW. For more information visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.

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