Isaac Austin from Merriwa, NSW, is now in his second year of a fitter machinist apprenticeship and couldn’t be happier with how his post-school training is turning out.

Isaac did work experience at a Scone engineering company and was offered an apprenticeship. “I knew I wanted to do something that offered lots of hands on work so when the job offer came I was really excited.

“I was a bit nervous about leaving school and certainly had a few concerns about being able to afford the tools you need for an apprenticeship, buying a vehicle to get me to and from work and having to move out of home, all at the age of 16.”

Isaac’s careers advisor told him about grants offered by Country Education Foundation and he said he thought applying was worth a shot.

There’s not a lot of extra support out there for apprentices. I guess people think you are earning money so you don’t need help. But the reality is you are on minimum wage and by the time you pay rent and buy your food for the week there’s not a lot left.

So when Isaac found out he was going to be supported by his local CEF in Merriwa he was over the moon.

“My tools alone cost me $1,500, so to get help to pay for them was great. But the mentorship and support from my local community has been just as important to me.”

Isaac’s commitment to his training and education was recognised again this year when he was awarded a Kirby Scholarship from CEF national office.

“Getting the Kirby support for my second year of study has been such a help. It’s great that there are organisations and people out there who want to encourage and help apprentices.”

Isaac’s four year apprenticeship will qualify him to work anywhere from a manufacturing firm to an engineering company to a farm. He said whatever he does in the future it will definitely involve making and fixing things.