Wednesday, September 20, 2017

On 3 January 2013 southern Tasmania was ravaged by some of the most devastating bushfires in its history. Hundreds of homes, businesses and livelihoods were destroyed. Ty Little, an employee at Kelly’s Sawmill in Dunalley south of Hobart, was one of the many who overnight became jobless when the mill was razed to the ground.

“At the time it was a terrible, confronting blow, but it actually forced me to have a good look at where I was heading and consider other opportunities,” said Ty. These opportunities came in the shape of a recommendation from his former boss at the sawmill who had a carpenter mate who was looking for an apprentice. “I was rapt to hear it and jumped at the chance,” said Ty.

So at the age of 31 Ty found himself going back to study—and was surprised by how much he enjoyed the experience.

“I wasn’t really looking forward to being in a classroom again, but I actually loved the study and the teachers at TAFE Hobart were great. Being a mature age apprentice I thought I’d be surrounded by young school leavers but that wasn’t the case at all—about half of the class were around my age. I think that was partly because, with workplaces changing so rapidly, a lot of the mature age students had come to the realisation that they needed work-ready, up to date skills in order to have the best chance to get the job they wanted.”

In 2016 Ty completed his Certificate III in Carpentry and is now working at Perry’s Building Services in Hobart.

“It’s definitely a step forward for me, and as bad as it was at the time when I was retrenched, I am really happy that I was able to turn the situation into a positive one,” said Ty. “Now that I have a trade, for the first time I have job security and future prospects. I can take my skills anywhere and one day I might even be able to have my own business.”

Ty’s advice to anyone who might be thinking about doing an apprenticeship is simple: “Go for it and don’t make excuses. If you want to work there are opportunities out there and now is the time to get started. I’m living proof that new beginnings are possible and changes of direction can be really positive. You can do it. You’ve just got to want to do it.”

If you’d like to join Ty in getting the training you need for a rewarding career, visit