A booming construction industry gave fully qualified locksmith, Rhys Coleman, the confidence to dive headfirst into a carpentry apprenticeship nearly four years ago.

It’s a decision that has paid off for the 24-year-old Central Coast man, who now has two apprenticeship qualifications to his name, and a bright future ahead of him working in a growing construction sector.

Mr Coleman said skills training was an obvious choice for him rather than finishing is HSC.

“I left school when I was 16 because it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t love sitting in a classroom all day -  I’m sure there are lots of school students who can relate – and I knew my skills were better suited to a practical career in the trades,” Mr Coleman said.

“That’s when I decided to become a locksmith. It was local and available to me at the time, and I really loved working in a job that that was hands-on and practical.

“And then when I finished my Certificate III in Locksmithing, I decided to have a crack at carpentry because I enjoyed learning a trade and there are so many opportunities in the construction industry,” he said.

With the help of employment, training and apprenticeships provider, VERTO, Mr Coleman signed up for his second apprenticeship and found an employer on the Central Coast to complete his on-the-job training.

He is part of a growing cohort of young people who are seizing opportunities to earn while they learn through an apprenticeship.

The latest data released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) shows that apprentice and trainee commencements increased by 23.6 per cent in the March quarter 2022, compared with the same quarter last year.

Mr Coleman’s message to Year 12 students as they sit their HSC exams and plan for the future is to study or train in something that they love, and don’t be afraid to swap or change courses if things don’t go to plan.

“I don’t have any regrets doing my first trade – skills are transferrable, and I learned some great business and customer service skills that have served my well as I finish off my carpentry apprenticeship,” he said.

“I love working in construction. No two days are the same and I am constantly learning new things.”

VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell said that Rhys’ story highlights how apprenticeships can turn a passion into a career.

“University isn’t going to suit everyone, and it’s great to see young people like Rhys build exciting careers in industries that are crying out for skilled workers,” he said.

Interested in exploring career options that align with your skills and passions? Visit www.verto.org.au or phone 1300 4 VERTO (1300 883 786) to speak to the VERTO team who can assist with all your traineeship, apprenticeship, training and employment options. 

About VERTO

VERTO is a community owned, 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 60 locations across the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria. For more information, visit verto.org.au.