After working in the arts industry for 15 years, Kristen Perich took a leap of faith and started an apprenticeship as a picture framer.

Now aged 40 and in the first year of a trade apprenticeship, Ms Perich is still working with art but in a different capacity at Frame Today in Chatswood.

“I knew I needed a career that had more flexibility and could work around my son who is just about to start school,” she said.

“I wanted a new challenge where I could use my hands and incorporate my love of arts and crafts. I just couldn’t see myself at a desk doing admin for the rest of my life.”

With the help of non-for-profit training organisation, VERTO, Ms Perich signed up to complete a Certificate III in Picture Framing through Regional Trade Assessments (RTA) and started gaining on-the-job experience at Frame Today.

Being a mature-aged apprentice, Ms Perich still had to support her son and pay the bills, so she applied for a Bert Evans Scholarship, funded by the NSW Government.

The annual scholarships, worth $15,000 over three years, support apprentices who demonstrate a high aptitude for vocational education and training, show a commitment to their training, or may be experiencing financial or personal hardship.  

Ms Perich said she was thrilled when she found out she’d been awarded a Bert Evans Scholarship at the end of last year.

“It’s a very generous scholarship and financial support like this will allow me to focus on completing my apprenticeship over the next couple of years,” she said.

VERTO’s CEO Ron Maxwell congratulated Ms Perich on her achievement and commitment to vocational education and training.

“It takes a lot of courage for mature-aged workers to commit to undertaking an apprenticeship and Kristen is a wonderful example that it’s never too late to pursue your dream career,” Mr Maxwell said.

“VERTO is supportive of any scholarship program that provides opportunities and support to aspiring apprentices to start, change or further their careers.”

For more information, phone VERTO on 1300 4 VERTO (1300 483 786) or visit www.verto.org.au.