Certificate IV in Electrical and Instrumentation
Happiness is…following your dream
For someone who loved gadgets and working with their hands as a kid, a carpentry trade would seem a perfect choice. And so it was for Jen Fitzpatrick, until she was talked out of doing an apprenticeship and took on a University pathway instead.
“Because I enjoyed working with my hands and playing sport and coaching various sports teams throughout school, I thought that I would head towards metalwork, woodwork and PE teaching—a bit of a compromise, that way at least I would get to work with my hands and remain active,” said Jen. “I taught design and technology for several years but still desired to do a trade. I first became interested in electrical and control systems when I touched on it at university, but it was when I was teaching robotics that I became enthralled with the electrical side of things and I knew then it was what I wanted to do.”
Although her goal was clear, finding the pathway to achieve it was difficult. “Because I had a degree it was really hard to find an entry point to a mature age apprenticeship, but after more than 18 months’ searching I finally landed the perfect position as an Electrical and Instrumentation apprentice and the time spent searching was worth every bit,” said Jen. ”Dreams don’t always come easy, but when I saw the position advertised I knew straight away, that this was exactly what I had been searching for and I would do whatever I could to get it.”
Jen’s employer, SICK Australia, is a leading international manufacturer of sensors, safety systems and solutions for factory and logistics automation and process control. “It’s a fascinating industry to work in, it really is the way of the future,” said Jen. “I’ve been able to work on critical installations that are behind-the-scenes in places like Australia Post and major airports and many ground breaking applications across a variety of industries.”
Jen says that although she is older than the average apprentice that has never been an issue for her. “It has actually been a bonus, as my life experience and prior knowledge is seen as an asset in my workplace." As an Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador, Jen encourages people of all ages to seriously consider following thier passions. "For anyone of a mature age who is thinking about an apprenticeship I would highly recommend it. It’s a really good way to get hands-on experience and study at the same time. It’s not always easy and sometimes you have to make sacrifices to get to where you want to be and along the road you might change your mind like I changed my career. But sometimes it takes those hard times and tough choices to discover something you are truly passionate about and you will be surprised at where it will take you. As for me, I’m really happy to be following my dream and I wouldn’t change a thing."