National Skills Week highlights Far North Queensland’s training talent

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development The Honourable Di Farmer

Reece Zamiak

The rise in trainee and apprenticeship numbers is showing the Palaszczuk Government’s record investment of more than $1 billion in training and skills is paying off, with people in Far North Queensland getting the qualifications they need for the jobs of the future.

Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer said ‘RE-THINK’, the theme of this year’s National Skills Week, encouraged Queenslanders to take a good look at the many and varied careers available through vocational training.

“Wherever you are in Queensland, you deserve the opportunity to get world class training to help you get the right job,” Minister Farmer said.

“There has never been a more important time to do this, and that’s why the Palaszczuk Government put investing in training and skills at the heart of our $14.2 billion COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.”

Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui, said the government was supporting young people in Far North Queensland with free training.

“We have free apprenticeships and free TAFE for under 25s across 165 priority skills areas including construction, health, and disability support services,” Ms Lui said.

“And the figures show that it’s paying off: 45,700 apprentices and trainees started in the last financial year, which is a huge 56.6% rise on the year before.

“That includes over 150 right here in Far North Queensland.

“Queensland is also the national leader in school-based apprenticeships and traineeships with 57% of the national total.”

“That’s why we have invested over $220 million into renewing and revitalising TAFEs across Queensland since 2017,” Ms Lui said.

“And from this year, we are investing another $100 million”

“This will ensure our apprentices and trainees have world class facilities to train in and get the skills they need to change their lives.”

Despite his dad being a sparky, a small electric shock as a child left Weipa resident Reece Zamiak fascinated with electricity and on a path to become an electrician.

“One day I was playing with the old yellow, red and white cable that goes in the back of the TV and I got a little shock, that’s what got me intrigued about the field of electricity. It wasn’t intentional, falling into the same shoes as my dad, it just happened that way,” Reece said.

“I decided that I should actually do some work experience prior to applying for an apprenticeship. I did and realised that becoming an electrician was definitely the job that I could see myself doing every day.”

After confirming it was a career path he wanted to follow, Reece went on to enrol in a Certificate II in Electrotechnology at TAFE Queensland.

“Pre-apprenticeship training was actually really good because it taught me the fundamentals of electricity and other important things like workplace safety,” Reece said.

“I was also able to gain hands-on training in the workshop which was definitely really good because it exposed me to the work I would be doing if I was an apprentice under a tradesperson.

“When I did apply for an apprenticeship, I was told that it was really good that I had already completed pre-apprenticeship training and my prior learning was recognised so I didn’t have to repeat anything,” he said.

Reece, a Torres Strait Islander and Teppathiggi Aboriginal man has visited schools in Bamaga, Injinoo and the Torres Strait to encourage students to consider a trade career.

“I tell anyone who is interested in a career as an electrician to go for it. My advice is to ask for information and try to get some industry exposure through work experience or a pre-apprenticeship course,” Reece said.

“The electrical industry is a lot of fun, it’s so interesting and there are so many different types of jobs and work available,” he said.

Minister Farmer said vocational education and training was vital to Queensland’s economy.

“We know that if you get the right training, you’re more likely to get the right job,” Minister Farmer said.

“I’d encourage every single person reading this to go and look up all the rewarding, lucrative and prestigious career opportunities available through vocational education and training.”

National Skills Week, which runs from August 23 to August 29, is an opportunity to raise awareness of the power of vocational education and training and the wide range of qualifications that lead to rewarding careers now and into the near future.

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