For young people choosing to live and work in this beautiful part of the world, life can be challenging at the best of times.
As the Bega Valley was rocked first by bushfires and now the uncertainty of living with COVID-19 restrictions, finding meaningful work and a challenging career has recently become more difficult for young people wanting to work locally.
Thankfully, opportunities still exist, with Bega Valley Shire Council’s cadetship, traineeship and apprenticeship programs giving hope, employment, skills training and small business support in the area.
Council’s Manager for People and Governance, Mark Irvin said the workplace training opportunities offered through Council can offer a lifeline for young people who want to stay and work locally.
“While it’s great to see lots of young people heading off to gain tertiary qualifications in their chosen fields, it’s important to provide opportunities for young people seeking careers in the local area.
“They may not realise it at the time, but these future trainees, cadets and apprentices will go on to provide a vital skills base that keeps local business and industry thriving,” he said.
Thomas Donnelly completed his three-year apprenticeship last year, finishing up and passing his Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology through Canberra CIT as part of the program.
While undergoing his training, Thomas worked in Council’s Fleet Facilities workshop team, learning valuable workplace skills from colleagues and Coordinator, Deon Constance.
“Thomas was a real asset to the team. He took on board the complexities of working to a professional standard as well as what it means to work as part of a busy team.
“As a result, Thomas has gone on to gain employment as an experienced and qualified heavy vehicle mechanic with a local business. He’s now a valuable part of a skills base serving the area,” he said.
Mr Donnelly said he is really pleased with the outcome.
“I came out of school wanting to train as a mechanic, and the opportunity was there thanks to a Council apprenticeship.
“I had to work hard and there was a lot to learn, but I’m really glad I put in the effort because now I have the career I was looking for and I get to live in this awesome place,” he said.
Current apprentice, Zane Bagley, agrees. Part way through his five-year Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology apprenticeship, he feels skilled-up and enjoying the process of learning a new trade.
“It’s really supportive learning from an established team of people who know what they are doing. I’ve learned so much in the time I’ve been here and looking forward to picking up lots of new skills,” he said.
Council’s Cadet, Trainee and Apprentice positions are offered as part of its ongoing commitment to encourage young people to start their careers in local government.
Mr Irvin said it is a strategic approach that expands Council’s capacity and workforce, based on the operational needs of the business.
“It’s an approach that works well and provides on so many fronts, giving us an extra pair of hands when we need it, job opportunities for young people, and skilled employees for businesses and organisations that need them.
“Many of our apprentices, trainees and cadets continue their careers within the industry, and others go on to add to the local business community in many different ways,” Mr Irvin said.
If you would like more information about Council’s workplace training programs, visit the Careers at Council webpage.
Above: Bega Valley Shire Council apprentice, Zane Bagley is part way through his Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology.