Apprenticeship opens doors

TAKING on an apprenticeship to learn new skills has been a game changer for Latrobe Valley’s Karley Wells.

The 28 year-old, who recently began her apprenticeship with Latrobe Smart Centre’s Indigenous Apprenticeship Program, said she now had “a foot in the door”, referring to future career prospects.

Ms Wells’ apprenticeship at LSC – a Centrelink call centre, has enabled her to hone her customer service skills by assisting in customer service enquiries.

“I didn’t do TAFE or go to uni out of high school, so I really wanted to get a qualification behind my name,” Ms Wells said.

With an opportunity to undertake ongoing employment at LSC following the completion of her apprenticeship, Ms Wells said she was still considering what career path she would follow.

“This is a great stepping stone… I’m not sure what I’m going to do in the future yet, but getting this certificate will go a long way,” she said.

“I couldn’t afford to do another course or take further studies so I’m quite grateful for what I can get from this (apprenticeship).”

Ms Wells, who discovered the program through her sister, was the program’s first indigenous apprentice, and said LSC provided employees with a positive working environment.

She said any challenges faced by herself and the four other apprentices were always solved with the assistance of her team leader and co-workers.

“I love the girls I work with; everyone is just so supportive and friendly,” Ms Wells said.

“Everyone here is always ready to help.”

The apprenticeship program, which has been running for about five years, gives Indigenous residents the opportunity to gain skills while undertaking further study.

Apprentices also have the opportunity to join a Leading Educating Awareness and Diversity committee to promote cultural events within the centre.

The idea stemmed from a former Indigenous apprentice, Stephanie Clarke, and the L.E.A.D. group was formed this year with all past and current Indigenous apprentices being a part of it.

As a member of this committee, Ms Wells and her colleagues recently hosted an event to celebrate NAIDOC week.

For Ms Wells, the benefits of her apprenticeship outnumber any other qualification opportunities she could have received.

She said with a great team to back her up, she now had “more confidence” to choose her career path.