School-based Apprenticeship the ticket to a dream
Some interested eyes looked in Brenden Williamson’s direction when he won a competition in the Yamaha Student Grand Prix, an industry program created to help address the shortage of experienced marine and motorcycle technicians. Then the owner of a motorcycle dealership offered Brenden the motorcycle mechanic apprenticeship he dreamt of.
“I was flattered but didn’t think I could accept, because I didn’t want to drop out of school,” he says.
However, Brenden’s teacher had heard of Australian School-based Apprenticeships (ASbA) and Brenden, then 15, loved the idea.
"Something that let me start the apprenticeship I wanted to do, earned me a bit of money and also let me finish Year 12, was worth a try."
No NSW students had done Brenden's particular qualification as an ASbA, but he and his teachers made it happen. Each week he travelled the three hour round trip to attend his workplace in Campbelltown and an hour each way to TAFE NSW. Brenden also contributed his time at expos and schools, promoting the value of ASbA to students.
"I want younger students to see that there's an alternative to dropping out of school. I also want people to know that there are career paths equally as good as university," he says.
“Lots of people, like me, don’t learn well just from a book. With an apprenticeship, you learn a bit in a classroom, then you’re in the workshop doing what you learnt, then back at work you practice it constantly.”
Now in the second year of his full apprenticeship in Certificate III in Motorcycle Mechanical Technology, Brenden would eventually like to make custom made motorcycles.
In 2015 Brenden won the Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year Award at the Australian Training Awards, which particularly pleased him for the influence the title will add to his passionate promotion of ASbAs.
" I'm now speaking to them as an Australian winner."
He was appointed an Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador in 2015, but that's a role he's already performing unofficially.
Watch Brenden in action here: The Motorcycle Mechanic: Brenden's Story.