At one end of the class is a fresh-faced 17-year-old with the world at his feet, next to him is a 42-year-old at the beginning of his second career. These two are like bookends in the class of TAFE NSW Nowra’s Certificate III Carpentry.
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Leo Tucker, the older of the two, is giving hope to anyone wishing they had followed their career dreams but never did. It’s never too late and Mr Tucker is proving it by reskilling at TAFE NSW after 20 years working behind the scenes in the Australian film industry.
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It is more than two decades since he was at school, but he summed up his return-to-learning in three words; “I’m loving it.”
“I’ll admit I felt a bit intimidated at first, heading into a classroom full of teenagers,” Mr Tucker said.
“I thought it was going to be awkward. But it has been fantastic.”
He chose the course because he wants the skills to build his own home. Mr Tucker lives in Sydney, but has an apprenticeship with a building company on the South Coast.
He said he was continually enthused seeing the results of what he was learning at TAFE NSW, falling into place on the job site.
“As a mature-aged student, I can’t recommend studying enough. If you’re sitting around, not bettering yourself it’s a good idea to have a go and TAFE NSW is very encouraging.”
At the other end of the age gap is Matthew Upps from Nowra.
Matthew left school half way through year 10 to start at apprenticeship in building. He said it was a big call at the time. Looking back now he firmly believes he made the right call.
“School wasn’t for me and my teachers at the time encouraged me to try a different path,” Mr Upps said.
That different path resulted in a building apprenticeship. Now in his second year of his apprenticeship training at TAFE NSW he said he is learning something new every day.
“I feel like the boys at work trust me more on the job,” Mr Upps said.
“Before I started I had no confidence. Now if feel good about giving anything a try.
“I’m hoping to start up my own business one day and employ my own apprentices.”
Want to build on your own career or perhaps change direction? Visit www.tafensw.com.au for details.
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