What were you doing before you studied carpentry?
Before I started studying Carpentry in Aus, I served in the army for years. I had never worked as a Carpenter before I started the course in Aus.
Where do you study?
I am currently in my third semester studying the Cert III in Carpentry and the Cert IV in Building and Construction at TAFE NSW in Sydney.
How many days do you go to class per week?
When I did the Cert III I attended 2 full days per week and 1 night of study (20 hours of study).
Now I am doing my Cert IV in Building and Construction. It is 1 full day per week and 2 full nights and a lot of homework (Mon – Friday). We also need to do 2 working weekends where you do a level run grade and work out the slope with an automatic level.
How did you find your work experience?
TAFE sent us out a big list of employers and we got in contact with them.
How are you dealing with money?
We are working part time, but it is pretty tight, but it we are living in Sydney. I live in Dee Why in Sydney, so it is expensive. Because we are living in Sydney we definitely had to go into our savings. I think if we chose another city it wouldn’t be as expensive.
Do you get paid for your work experience?
Yes, now I get $35 per hour, but when I started I received $25 an hour as labourer.
Is your employer ok with your study requirements and that you can’t work full time?
Yes, he is happy to have me as many hours as he can get.
How are your teachers?
The first year we had a very easy going atmosphere in class. The teachers have a lot of actual experience though. Everyone in the class was international. The Cert III course is very practical and hands on.
The Cert IV is really only theoretical and you don’t pick up the tools.
Tell us about your classmates?
Currently there are about 75 in my class, most are Australian’s in the Cert IV. In the Cert III, there were about 18 internationals from all over the world.
What are you most surprised about the course?
It is very impressive how well they condense everything. They managed to fit so much content in such a small amount of time.
To be honest, it is really important to have the vocational placement and work experience in the carpentry industry to back the skills in class. You need to put skills into practice.
What is the most difficult thing about the course?
Assessments and reports for the Cert IV class is something that I was not used to. I have had to learn fast and it is challenging.
How are the facilities?
The facilities are all good. We have libraries as well as work shops. Both Australian students and international students study there.
What are your plans when you graduate?
I just want to keep working with the builder and gain experience. I believe that at the moment we will qualify for the graduate work visa when we finish, so that is what we are working towards.