Matthew’s diary – Week 4: Visiting wholesalers and learning about the domestic sector

Matthew’s fourth week in Australia focused on the differences in apprenticeship provision between Brisbane and the UK. Spending a day with Kenny from Electrogroup, Matthew visited a new wholesaler that provides the Electrogroup apprentices with toolkits. Matthew explained: “All apprentices are provided free toolkits when they start their apprenticeship as part of the agreement. It includes a range of high quality hand tools alongside a drill, impact driver and batteries. These toolkits are added to in the second, third and fourth years with an ‘allowxance’. Each apprentice is given an allowance to spend on tools that will be useful to them in the areas they’re working in.”

Matthew was then taken to visit some ‘Domestic Service’ apprentices working for One Electrical. Walking through the job site Matthew saw a different side of installation compared to the UK. He said: “Electricians working in ‘service’ are not site based. They’ll attend jobs, usually spending only a day or two at the most, before moving on to another site. Apprentices working in commercial and domestic service get a very different range of experience to those working on sites, due to the nature of the installations, install and testing will be completed in a day, allowing the apprentice to gain lots of hands on experience in testing, an area that’d be hard for construction site apprentices to cover.”

He added: “This is a very similar situation to the UK with experience gathering. However, the advantage of a training group is that the apprentice can be moved to another kind of job to gain significant experience whereas in the UK the employer is limited by the variety and type of work they currently have available.”

While in Queensland Matthew has noticed that a lot of residents have installed solar panels on their homes as they have so much sunshine over available, but also that battery storage and electric vehicle charging hasn’t taken off as much as it has back in the UK.

Matthew also got an opportunity to tour the Electrogroup building where he was shown around all the different classrooms, seeing the rigs they had set up for various practical classroom tasks.

Over the weekend Matthew spent time with a former NG Bailey employee, Kenny Bell, and his family: “He kindly got in touch after the JIB announced my competition win and offered to be a friendly face in the city to show me around when I got here. We visited North Stradbroke Island, where we saw dolphins and turtles around the coast, as well as grabbing some beers at the Point Lookout Surf Life Saving club.”

Kenny Bell now works for Hitachi as part of the rail delivery for the new Cross River Rail project in Queensland. It’s one of the largest projects in the Queensland area.

Matthew concluded: “I’ve seen the railway sites all over as I’ve been travelling in and out of Brisbane. Kenny gave me a great perspective on what it is like moving to Queensland from the UK, including all the challenges as well as how enjoyable he has found living here. It does certainly look like you can have a great quality of life here as a tradesperson.”