The month of August marked Tradie Health Month, an initiative led by the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) to raise awareness of risks posed to those who work in trade occupations. Tradies are recognised for their value to Australia’s national workforce, with their contribution keeping Australia’s economy thriving. Initiatives such as Tradie Health Month were created to improve tradie overall wellbeing and prioritise tradies health now and into the future.

The economic development of Australia will create hundreds of job opportunities in the future, particularly in the trades and services industry. Vocational education and training (VET) courses will assist to gaining the skills and experience you need to enter an industry of your passion.

The trades and services industry is just one of the many industries that was recognised during National Skills Week, the focal point for the promotion of VET in Australia.

“The versatility of careers in the trades and services industry is endless,” says Kirstin Casey, General Manager of SkillsOne. “From automotive and carpentry to floristry and hairdressing. Following a career you love is a viable option through VET.”

Shane Dealy, VET Alumni member, Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador and Australian Training Awards 2016 Australian Apprentice of the Year completed a Certificate III in Carpentry after first attending university. Dealy was 18 months into his engineering degree at university when he knew it wasn’t the right career path for him and decided to follow his true passion, carpentry.

“When I changed from engineering to carpentry I wasn’t sure that I’d done the right thing,” he says. “The career advice I’d received at school was very much in favour of going to university. But now the award confirms that I’ve chosen the right pathway.”

While studying his Certificate III at the Canberra Institute of Technology and undertaking an apprenticeship at his father’s firm, Algoa Holdings, Dealy took up extra study to gain additional qualifications in building and construction. The value of learning and the opportunities that VET offers are true passions that Dealy advocates for.

“What my studies have shown me is the value of learning,” he says. “It provides choice, room to grow and self-worth. With an ever-changing world, new building techniques, products and designs to keep abreast of, you have to be always adapting and learning.

“In a generation where fewer people are becoming involved in apprenticeships I would like to play a part in reversing that trend. What I want to do is be an ambassador for VET by visiting schools and giving impressionable young people in Year 10 or 11 a more complete picture of the options available to them. I want to be an exemplar of how fantastic a trade can be.”

For further information on Shane Dealy’s story, or other engaging career stories from the Australian Training Awards program, VET Alumni Program or the Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors Program, visit