Moving in the right direction

Joshua Toomey joined Ausgrid in 2006 through their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pre-Apprenticeship Program.

With focus and commitment he gained a highly-sought after Australian Apprenticeship with the company.

In 2010, he completed his four-year apprenticeship, was awarded a Certificate III in Electricity Supply Industry - Distribution (Power Line) and is now enjoying a career as a fully-qualified electrical linesworker.

"Over the four years of my apprenticeship I had challenging times," Joshua said.

"I find now, being a tradesman, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

"Doing an apprenticeship brought a sense of direction with my income and having that piece of paper that says I am qualified, I am a tradesman, assures me that there is some sort of direction in my life."

Joshua's achievements throughout his training reflect his determination to succeed, particularly as he began his pre-apprenticeship course with basic literacy and numeracy skills after leaving high school before Year 12.

"Before I had never committed to finishing anything, but I worked hard and kept it simple," he said.

"I found extra help and just kept coming back.

"My training teachers and employers walked with me every step of the way."

Joshua has not only transformed his own life during the past five years, but also the lives of many other young Indigenous Australians.

With an understanding of the barriers that face many Indigenous people during and after school, Joshua is now strongly involved in Ausgrid's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pre-Apprenticeship Program, where he actively mentors and supports new apprentices.

"Probably the best aspect of my apprenticeship has been the self-belief I built inside, and also the income," he said.

"I can now support my family and go out and get nice things and live a lifestyle that I've always hoped for."

Joshua was the winner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award at the 2011 Australian Training Awards.

Watch The Electrical Linesman: Joshua's story.

If you are interested in an Australian Apprenticeship and how to get started, download An Australian Apprenticeship - Endless Career Possibilities brochure or contact your local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.

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