Helping build three new cabins for Wollongong City Council’s Bulli Beach Tourist Park was the ‘’best thing’’ Amy Siric has done for herself in a long time.
It also helped the Wollongong TAFE student secure an apprenticeship with Gerroa builder Martin Keats.
Ms Sirc was part of 18 students who constructed the cabins during 2017 as part of their Certificate in Construction pre-vocational course.
‘’It was incredible. It’s probably the best thing I’ve done,’’ she said.
‘I had a career change last year and I needed to be in this class to be able to pursue a career in carpentry and it ticked all of my boxes.
‘’It helped me gain both hand skills and skills with power tools. It also educated me in all the different terminologies in the trade as well as just gaining valuable experience.
‘’Out of that I also got myself an apprenticeship.’’
TAFE NSW Trades and Technology faculty director Marty Burgess said the program had been a stunning success, giving students invaluable hands-on skills and helping parlay those skills into jobs.
‘’This is a real workplace where students construct real buildings under real work conditions,’’ Mr Burgess said.
“This means the students are work-ready and employers snap them up for apprenticeships.
‘’For so many of these students, this is the making of them and it is a genuinely life-changing experience.’’
This was certainly the case for mature-aged student Ms Sirc.
‘’I made sacrifices this year going to TAFE full time. I did two different courses this year as well as the carpentry, so I juggled everything but it has definitely improved my life for the better,’’ she said.
Mr Burgess added the course had forged such a formidable reputation over the past decade-and-a-half, the vast majority of participants landed apprenticeships within weeks of the course completion – or even while the course was still running.
On Monday the students officially handed over the cabins, which each comprise two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom and a verandah, to Wollongong City Council.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the partnership to construct cabins was a great initiative for the students, TAFE and the council.
‘’Council has been involved with this partnership for more than 13 years now and I’m very proud of the fact that 48 cabins have been built in this time,’’ Cr Bradbery said.