Certificate III Landscape Construction
From back-up plan to dream career
It could be said that Dougal King’s ‘dream career’ is an accidental one. He always planned to do a trade, to have something up his sleeve in case his ‘real job’ didn’t turn out. With no particular trade in mind, fate intervened in the form of a friend working for a landscape construction company who asked if he could help out doing a bit of labouring.
“I didn’t really have a clear idea about what trade to choose, I just wanted something to fall back on,” said Dougal. “I helped my friend out for two days, loved it and knew that was the trade I wanted to pursue. I began my apprenticeship a couple of months later and the rest is history,” he said.
Dougal is apprenticed to Back to Front Landscaping while studying at the Canberra Institute of Technology. At the suggestion of one of his teachers he agreed to try his luck in the WorldSkills regional competition, but wasn’t particularly confident about his chances. It was at this point that fate again intervened—Dougal came second to someone he used to catch the bus with as a 10-year-old, Alex Halls. From that point on they teamed up to take WorldSkills by storm, winning the Gold Medal at the 2016 National Competition.
“At the end of the day of the competition when we had a chance to look at all the competitors’ entries we crossed our fingers and thought we might place. When they called out the names of the second prize winners I looked at Alex, grinned and winked. We’d won Gold! We were absolutely chuffed. No better feeling honestly!”
Dougal described WorldSkills as a ‘rollercoaster once-in-a-lifetime experience’. “There isn’t anything else like it. The competition was really hard work, but we had a blast and we met heaps of likeminded people. I can’t thank WorldSkills enough, plus everyone else who were part of our success—the trainers, teachers and my boss. We’re now training hard to be ready for the Global Skills Challenge in July, which will be the basis for final team selection for the international competition in Abu Dhabi in October 2017.”
Dougal’s advice to anyone thinking of doing a trade is ‘don’t muck around and just do it’. “I can only speak from my own experience and say landscaping is really rewarding. I work in so many different scenarios, with so many different products and make barren environments beautiful. If you’re interested in doing landscaping you’ll need a bit of creative flair, need to be willing to listen, ready for some hard yakka and keep wanting to learn. I’m 21 now, and aim to have my own business by the time I’m 25. That’s the goal I’m working for, and if I follow my own advice, I don’t see any reason why I can’t achieve it.”