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 did 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.
I have now graduated and Pathway to Aus assisted me to obtain my graduate work visa.
How many days did 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).
On 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.Eventually once you have a foot in the industry it was pretty easy to find work in Sydney.
How did you deal with money?
During studies we were 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.
On the graduate visa we both are allowed to work full time so it is much better
Do you get paid for your work experience?
Yes, now I get $40 per hour. But when I started I received $25 an hour as labourer. It then went up as I got more skilled.
Was 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 were your teachers?
The first year we had a very easy going atmosphere in class. The teachers have a lot of actual experience in the industry, 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 were 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 was 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 for the future?
I just want to keep working with the builder and gain experience. Now I am on the graduate visa I am going to go through with the job ready to get my full skills assessment and then look at other future permanent visa options.