Laborer Jay Lecchi and Builder Phil Meadows from Reef Constructions Queensland building a new dwelling at Smithfield Village Estate. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN
Laborer Jay Lecchi and Builder Phil Meadows from Reef Constructions Queensland building a new dwelling at Smithfield Village Estate. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN

How to make an apprenticeship work for you

NEWS of a decline in apprenticeships across Queensland has prompted Far North tradies to share their top tips to help get the numbers up as a new generation of school leavers prepares to enter the workforce.

State Government data revealed yesterday that the number of apprentices across Queensland had dropped by almost 30,000 in five years, with 2119 fewer in the Far North.

Reef Constructions managing director Phil Meadows said not everyone had the commitment to earn a living from the industry.

'It's difficult to find young people who want to commit to three or four years as an apprentice, especially with the hard work and the heat that comes from working in Cairns," he said.

"The building industry is a great industry to be in - there's good money to be made - but you've got to work for it."

Mr Meadows said the main quality tradies looked for in a young apprentice was reliability.

"You want people that turn up every day, five days a week and be willing to learn," he said.

Jason Dekroon of JD Tiling agreed that reliability was the most important factor, though having your own transport also helped.

Mr Dekroon is planning to take on his first apprentice next year.

"It's difficult just to be able to take one on in a competitive market; you've got to have the financial leeway," he said.

"Having one can be a good benefit - if you train them up and they do a good job, you can make money in the big picture."


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