Paul Ashford: Mature-aged electrical apprentice
Taking on a new career as a matured-aged electrical apprentice was the next logical step for Chinchilla based worker, Paul Ashford.
Paul was working with a local Chinchilla firm doing a mostly welding and scheduled maintenance work in the coal seam gas industry when his employer offered up the opportunity to complete an electrical apprenticeship. “I was thrilled when my employer suggested an electrical apprenticeship. The apprenticeship allowed me continue working with my employer, but gave me the chance to get my electrical trade certificate” said Paul.
Paul commenced his electrical apprenticeship in 2015, joining a growing number of mature-aged workers seeking out a career as a tradesperson. In Australia, anyone over the age of 21 years at the commencement of their apprenticeship is considered a matured-aged or adult apprentice.
“We are seeing an increase in mature-aged jobseekers looking to complete an apprenticeship. These people who have generally been working alongside tradespeople for a number of years and have decided to get their trade certificate” said Camille Johnson, CEO of Golden West Apprenticeships. “Mature-aged apprentices have a range of experiences and skills they have gained throughout their working life and are an asset to employers from day one of their apprenticeship”.
However, for Paul, the downturn of the coal seam gas industry saw work dry up for his previous employer and his apprenticeship was suspended. Paul continued working locally in Chinchilla, however saw a position advertised for an “out of trade” electrical apprentice with Golden West Apprenticeships. “The position with Golden West allowed me to pick up where I had left off and I was happy to be able to continue with my apprenticeship” said Paul.
Golden West Apprenticeships supports out of trade apprentices back into their apprenticeships and currently have a number of positions available for both apprentices looking to continue their apprenticeship, as well as positions for mature-aged trade assistants looking to start their apprenticeship. “Apprentices are our future workforce and they must be supported so we can continue to have a strong local economy” said Ms Johnson. “By supporting apprentices such as Paul to continue their apprenticeships, we are ensuring our rural and regional communities have a skilled workforce into the future.”