Matthew talks about his experiences


I dropped out of school after year 10 and did labouring work. After I hurt my shoulder playing footy I knew I needed to find work that wasn’t labouring. For a while I was doing nothing. I was just bored. My mum found the information about this apprenticeship.

Initial experiences in VET

Initially I kept quiet. I kept to myself and tried to do it on my own but in some cases I couldn’t.

I didn’t have a clear understanding of what was expected in the class. I assumed that we would do all the work in the classroom, including the assignments. I quickly realised, when the first assignment was due, that I had to do work out of class to get assignments done.

I thought that VET would be like school and I could do all the work in class.

I felt scared when I didn’t have the first assignment done on time because I thought that if I failed the course I may lose my apprenticeship. I thought ‘I have to get this done’ because I wanted to keep my apprenticeship.

I always leave things to the last minute and I just get through. I don’t realise how much time it will take to get through the assignments. They usually take longer than I think they will. I leave things to the last minute because I think that assignments are going to be hard work. They usually are, but you just have to get started. It’s a relief to get an assignment finished and to send it through to the lecturer.

Things that made a difference

The VET lecturer:

The teacher made a difference. She made it clear there were no stupid questions and no stupid answers. This gave me confidence.

She also made it clear that nobody fails her classes.

She gave us heaps of time to finish assignments. When I didn’t have an assignment finished she gave me a two week extension.

I talked to my VET lecturer and she encouraged me.

She didn’t put any pressure on us and gave us lots of help, gave us useful notes and information and lots of paperwork that was really helpful.

When there were no classes she booked rooms for us to work in anyway.  She was always available in her office to give help if we needed it. I took advantage of that.

The workplace supervisor:

I also talked to my workplace supervisor and she checked up on me. It was important that she believed me when I told her what I was doing in my VET course.

A place to study:

At home it is pretty noisy and it is hard to get assignments done. I can stay back at work where it is quiet and I can concentrate and I can use a computer there to work on my assignments.

The link between VET and work:

The relationship between VET and work is important. It is more interesting and relevant to do study when you are working at the same time. For example, the multi-media work we did in VET in learning to use scanners and printers was really useful in the library where I work as we constantly get asked how to use that equipment. Also learning about OH&S was also relevant to my work.

Family support:

My mum encouraged me to apply for the apprenticeship. She gives me support by waking me up and making sure I get to work.

Things that I have learned

Don’t be ashamed to put your hand up and ask questions if you don’t understand.

Keep at it, even when it gets hard. It will pay off in the future to complete your qualification because you will have better career choices. If you have children you will be a role model.

The future: goals and aspirations

I want to finish the Certificate III in Library and Information Services and I would like to get a job in the library when I finish. I like the work.