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Singleton apprentice presented with Bert Evans scholarship by Deputy Premier

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A Singleton apprentice was today presented with the Bert Evans Apprentice Scholarship by Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro.

John Barilaro has been travelling across the state presenting the scholarships and today it was Temika Sailer-Ware’s turn to receive one worth $15,000.

Temika left school at 15 to care for her father who was quite ill until he passed away. The financial and emotional stress took its toll on herself and her family.

Temika took it upon herself to leave school and undertake several TAFE courses giving her an insight into the electrotechnology industry.

She’s now nine months into her first-year electrical apprenticeship, Electrician Certificate III, and says the $15,000 scholarship will go a long way.

“It definitely means a lot to me. It’s going to go towards a lot of different things, expenses or TAFE and other things just to help me through my apprenticeship.”

Temika travels around 230 kilometres every day to attend TAFE, but despite that, she said she’s thoroughly enjoying her study and employment with Yancoal.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said Temika is very deserving of the scholarship.

“She’s deserving, a great story but more importantly it's about encouraging more people into apprenticeships so hopefully that helps.”

NSW needs around 25,000 tradespeople to keep up with the infrastructure demand in the state over the next three years.

John Barilaro said as a government they are doing what they can to help young people get into a trade and pursue an apprenticeship.

For instance, through to 100,000 free TAFE apprenticeships announced earlier this year of which John Barilaro said around 3,500 have been applied for.

“There are no more fees associated with going to TAFE so that helps in a little way. We’ve got jobs everywhere, we have a record infrastructure boom happening we need a skilled workforce, we keep talking about trades and I wonder now we are struggling with a skilled workforce,”

“We will keep looking at everything else we need to do around supporting apprentices. We want to make sure we have all the options covered. I want to see more young people choosing to be an apprentice, a tradie and the more we can do the better.”

“We still pay small amounts of wages when it comes to apprentices which is under the apprenticeship awards. Any support helps and we want to get more young people through completing their apprenticeships and that’s what this is about today.”

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The Deputy Premier added that perhaps something needs to be changed in schools to encourage more young people to choose to pursue a trade, rather than go to university.

“For many decades we’ve been telling kids to go to uni and that uni is the only pathway and we’ve been using terms like second-chance pathway when it comes to TAFE. To me when you say to someone it’s a second-chance pathway you’re really saying if you’re a loser go to TAFE so we really need to change the language.”

“But in the school system we need to change the way we promote vocational training, I think we should encourage kids in the early years in years 9 and 10 to consider it. Maybe do a cert two to start with, get the taste of what an apprenticeship looks like,”

“Then assist them in year 11 and 12. Maybe it’s time for a vocational college system where we take them out of the general high school system and put them into a vocational college, get them ready, get them job ready,” said John Barilaro.

At the end of the day, he said he was a tradie and now he’s the Deputy Premier, so you can do anything you set your mind to.

“Don’t say no to vocational training, don’t say no to an apprenticeship. These guys, they’ve got an opportunity to not only become an apprentice, not only become a tradie, but they get to run their own business at some point in life.”

Image credit: Grant Broadcasters/Jessica Rouse