Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician

Passion sparked by Grandad

Some people might be hesitant about going back to school, as they turn 30, to train for a second career alongside young people fresh out of school. But it didn’t worry Shawn Buckton, who knew it was the means to get what he really wanted out of life.

“I felt somewhat restless and dissatisfied with life in South Australia working in IT, so left to travel around Australia and think about what I wanted out of life. That turned out to be a classroom in the Northern Territory, indulging my passion and channelling my grandad,” he said.

“I was always at my happiest as a youngster tinkering with the bits and pieces of electrical gear that my grandad, an electrician, would bring around for me to play with. He instilled a love of electronics in me from an early age, and when the time came for me to think about what I really wanted in life, the choice was easy.”

Shawn’s travels led him to Charles Darwin University to study for his Certificate III in Electrotechnology. “It was a big change to find myself at trade school after being in the workforce for eight years. As a mature age apprentice I had to adapt, and I knew I had some catching up to do, but that just made me go harder at my studies,” said Shawn.

Shawn did this with such success that he has almost completed his Certificate and is now a sought after team member at his workplace, Power and Water, with work crews known to fight over him to include him on their teams. This no doubt has a lot to do with Shawn’s philosophy of contributing ‘over and above’. “I believe the more you put in the more you get out of a job,” said Shawn. “Extra effort will go a long way.”

Such an attitude is certainly helping him to progress his career. Identified as a high achiever and a potential industry leader of the future, Shawn has been invited to be an Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador and to participate in Group Training Australia’s Today’s Skills Tomorrow’s Leaders program. In these roles he is keen to spread the message about the ‘fantastic career opportunities’ that apprenticeships offer.

“A few years back I would never have agreed to be speaking to groups or at events—I was too shy,” said Shawn. “But my apprenticeship has brought me out of my shell and I think it’s important to share my story and encourage those who are thinking about doing an apprenticeship to go for it, and to reassure those who have started an apprenticeship to stick with it—the years will fly by and at the end they’ll have a very valuable qualification which will set them up for the future.”

Looking to his own future, Shawn says he’d love to get a full-time position with his current employer, keep learning and perhaps pursue some kind of specialised role. “It’s a very diverse industry with many different pathways and I want to learn the trade inside out.

“I’m in a really good place career-wise and feel very lucky to have left one job in Adelaide, moved to a new state, landed an apprenticeship, and be striking out on a completely different path. I’d highly recommend an apprenticeship to any other young—or not so young—person out there—and they don’t need to move cities to do it!”

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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