CLASS IN SESSION: TAFE Queensland East Coast electrical teacher Merv King with Minister for Training and Skills Shannon Fentiman and TAFE student Connor Boon.
CLASS IN SESSION: TAFE Queensland East Coast electrical teacher Merv King with Minister for Training and Skills Shannon Fentiman and TAFE student Connor Boon. Chris Burns

Free TAFE makes difference to Gin Gin apprentice

LOCAL electrician apprentice Connor Boon, 18, is able to study at TAFE for free while he works in Bundaberg.

The Gin Gin man graduated from high school last year and has managed to make use of a state government scheme while working for Matt Farrell Electrical, and he is four weeks into the course.

Mr Boon intends on working in the area after he completes his four year course.

After all, he was born and bred here and cannot imagine himself living anywhere else.

Yesterday he was able to show the Minister for Training and Skills, Shannon Fentiman, some of what he has learned while studying at the Bundaberg campus at TAFE Queensland East Coast.

Ms Fentiman said there were 150 students at the Bundaberg campus benefiting from free TAFE courses, and that there was plenty of opportunity for them in the workforce.

The funding for the program will be continued in the state budget scheduled to be released next Tuesday.

Ms Fentiman said that cost of education was often an obstacle for Year 12 graduates, which is why the government was investing in their education to get into the workforce as soon as possible.

"Nine out of the 10 growing jobs will need a VET qualification.

"We know there is a huge demand already for electrical apprentices, and the wonderful thing about apprentices is Connor here already has a job,” Ms Fentiman said while touring the TAFE workshop with Mr Boon.

"He is getting a great opportunity to do his study here for free and get on the job training with his employer.”

Mr Boon said the free course helped given that he spend time and money travelling from Gin Gin daily to study and work.

He studies for a month at a time at TAFE learning the theoretical knowledge before he learns hands-on from his boss, Mr Farrell.

Mr Boon wanted hands on experience and did not want to be stuck behind a desk which is why he chose to become an electrician.

"It provides a great career opportunity, you can go anywhere with it,” he said. Connor