Apprentice fitter and turner Lisa Jones praises pre-aprrenticeships

THE only thing Lisa Jones regrets about her apprenticeship is that she did not start it earlier

Worked in retail before following her heart ... Apprentice Fitter and Turner Lisa Jones, 28. Picture: Steve Tanner

Jones, 28, started her three-year fitter and turner apprenticeship in March having worked her way up to a managerial role in retail earlier in her career.

She says she always liked metalwork and had wanted to do a trade but never felt comfortable pursuing it until she learned about pre-apprenticeships, which give workers basic skills and a taste of working in a trade.

“I did a pre-apprenticeship to help get my foot in the door, as it’s one thing to see a job and think it’s cool to do and another thing to do it day to day,” said Lisa, who is studying at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) Heidelberg Campus with her apprenticeship through APlus Apprentice and Trainee Services.

“It’s certainly very different going from an all-girl environment to an all-men environment (but) I have not had any issues with it at all.

“I like to be able to go to work and make things all day, fix things – it’s a useful trade.”

She says an apprenticeship is a step back in pay but there are incentives available to make it financially easier for mature-age workers, while she also is looking towards the career she will have rather than her salary right now.

“I always thought you’re your own worst enemy when you’re thinking about stepping out of the box,” she says.

“The only thing I regret is not having done it when I was younger, if I could take time back I would have taken the jump.”

Women in Trades business consultant Amanda Woods says female workers and employers need to rethink their stereotype of good tradesworkers and urges them to give eachother a go.

“Not every single woman out there is going to be good in a trade but you don’t know until you test someone,” she says.

“We have 55 women that are job ready and ready to go, in automotive, plumbing, landscaping, horticulture and electrical.

“(Employers) might be pleasantly surprised with having a female working with you. It can change your customer base.”

National Skills Week runs from August 25 to 31 to highlight and celebrate the opportunities and career pathways available through vocational education and training. Themed ‘The Magical Mystery Tour of Skills’ in 2014, it encourages young people to pursue a VET qualification to kickstart their career as well as workers of any age to upskill by obtaining further qualifications that can help them in their current job or make a career change. It also aims to highlight the career achievements workers are making in their chosen field.

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