27 May 2020
An apprenticeship takes a great deal of commitment and hard work to complete. Reaching the finish line is a huge accomplishment and usually signals time for that apprentice to move onto having greater responsibilities and seniority in that trade.
However, some apprentices decide that a change in career direction is right for them, which is what My Gateway apprentice Rebekah Balmer has done.
Rebekah completed her bricklaying apprenticeship last year and is now a first year electrical apprentice.
Rebekah is well into her first year as an electrical apprentice, undertaking her Certificate III in Electrotechnology while hosted to Nilsen. In 2019, Rebekah completed her Certificate III in Bricklaying/Blocklaying.
So why go from ‘brickie’ to ‘sparky’ in a matter of months?
“I wanted to expand my knowledge of the construction industry and have always had an interest in electrics,” Rebekah explained.
Despite bricklaying and electrical being two different trades, Rebekah has been able to utilise much of what she learnt in her first apprenticeship to help her in her second.
“I obtained the knowledge of what makes a good apprentice, and what is required on a construction site and how they work. Also, the use of tools and how the tools operate [is similar].”
There are some obvious differences between the two trades and Rebekah has found the study component of this apprenticeship a lot more intensive.
“The study for electrical is much more advanced and [there’s] a lot of work involved. A lot of studying outside of work and TAFE,” she said.
You might recall Rebekah featured in our Ladies Can Be Tradies campaign last year. Completing one apprenticeship in a mostly male-dominated trade is no easy feat so it is even more impressive that Rebekah has taken on a second trade. She has welcomed any challenges with open arms and in fact, overcoming those challenges has been something she has enjoyed.
“The challenges are starting again, meeting new people and adjusting to working with a big crew compared to bricklaying, where the maximum was six people,” Rebekah explained.
“So just to be able to rediscover my way into a world that consists majority of men and to be accepted as a female in that environment.”
Not everyone would be interested in taking on a second trade almost immediately after completing their first. But for those who are, Rebekah has some simple advice.
“My advice would be go for it and to have patience, as it can be tough at times, but worth it in the end!”