At age 21, Forster’s Shaun Carroll has been catapulted into the role of Water Infrastructure Designer at MidCoast Council thanks to a traineeship he started when he finished school in 2021.
A graduate of Great Lakes College, Mr Carroll is the first to admit he was one of many students who lacked clear direction when he finished high school. But an advertisement for a civil construction traineeship at MidCoast Council changed all that and put him on a positive career trajectory.
“There are a million different career options coming at you at school and not a whole lot of info about them. You’re mainly just going off what your parents or your teachers tell you, and you have to trust that their experience and intentions are right for you,” Mr Carroll said.
“When I saw the traineeship position advertised, I threw my hat into the ring. I liked the idea of being a draftsman or an architect and thought a traineeship might get me on that path a little faster.
“Thankfully I was successful, and it’s been a great couple of years learning on-the-job from an experienced mentor and working as part of a team.”
Halfway through this year, Mr Carroll finished his traineeship and was successful, through a merit selection process, in gaining a full-time permanent position with MidCoast Council as a Water Infrastructure Designer.
“I guess I’m pretty young to be in this position, but that’s the benefit of going down the vocational education and training (VET) learning pathway instead of university,” Mr Carroll said.
“I look at some of my mates who are at university, accumulating HECS debts, and think I’m pretty lucky to be in the position I am now.
“Everyone generally understands the idea of studying at university, but VET is one post-school option that’s often overlooked. It can be associated with apprenticeships and trades, but there’s actually hundreds of different types of qualifications you can get in just about every industry under the sun.”.
MidCoast Council works closely with not-for-profit employment, training and apprenticeships provider, VERTO, to sign up and mentor apprentices and trainees.
MidCoast Council’s General Manager, Adrian Panuccio, said providing opportunities for young trainees like Mr Carroll is a big part of the Council’s successful employment strategy.
VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell said National Skills Week (21-27 August) was a great opportunity to put the spotlight on VET pathways and the value of earn-and-learn models for both trainees and employers.
“Trainees like Shaun are a shining light for other school leavers who may be tossing up between university or an apprenticeship or traineeship,” Mr Maxwell said.
"Traineeships have so much to offer HSC graduates, including diverse career opportunities, positive job outlooks, earning while you learn and even a higher starting salary than many university counterparts.
“It's great to see Shaun making the most of real-life vocational education and training opportunities and building exciting career in planning and construction.
“The theme for National Skills Week 2023 is: ‘What are you looking for?’ and if you’re not sure about the answer, come and see one of our VERTO consultants who can point you in the right direction when it comes to apprenticeships and training,” Mr Maxwell said.
VERTO is a not-for-profit organisation delivering a range of apprenticeship, community support, employment and training services to assist individuals, employers and industries. We can be found in over 65 locations across New South Wales. For more information, visit verto.org.au.