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Wide Bay's apprentice boom: "jump in", says young chippie

ON THE JOB: Apprentice carpenter, Jordan Muller. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
ON THE JOB: Apprentice carpenter, Jordan Muller. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet

FOR Jordan Muller, good carpentry means creating something for others to admire.

"I'm helping out with the building of a house, start to finish," he said.

"Some of it is hard work like digging, but my favourite jobs are parts of the finished product, like skirting and architraves - things that are seen and appreciated by people."

The third-year apprentice carpenter is working with Bundaberg builder John Rizzo through East Coast Apprenticeships and he is one of a growing number of junior tradespeople in hot demand across the Wide Bay region.

Apprentice intake in the construction industry here has jumped more than 30% over the last decade according to a new report from Construction Skills Queensland.

The CSQ 2016 Apprentice Annual reported the apprentice intake rate was 6.9 apprentices per hundred workers in 2015, up from 5.3 per hundred in 2006.

Queensland's apprentice growth outpaced all other states in that period, second only to WA.

The report also showed that the construction industry took on more apprentices in 2015 as a proportion of its workforce than any other major Queensland industry.

CSQ chief executive Brett Schimming said construction employers should be commended for supporting apprentices and trainees during a challenging time for the industry.

"Despite the global financial crisis and slowdown in the resources sector, the demand for apprentices in the Queensland construction industry is consistent and strengthening," he said.

"From 2006 to 2015, the number of qualified construction workers created by the apprenticeship system more than doubled."

Jordan knew carpentry was what he wanted to do after doing work experience with several builders around Bundaberg when he finished school.

"John is a really good boss - he walks you through everything," he said. "He's taught me the importance of taking the time on the details, making things look that extra bit special."

An apprenticeship is an experience he'd encourage others to try.

"It may seem scary at first but jump in, get hands on and show you're really interested," Jordan said.

"It's always a good opportunity and you learn so much. It's hard work, but it's a lot of fun."

The 19-year-old hopes to eventually start his own business, building his own homes.

"I wouldn't mind building my own house one day."

Topics:  apprenticeships, builder, construction, tradespeople, wide bay



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