They’re kind of like family ties, the connections landscape construction apprentice Luke Saville, his boss and Melbourne Polytechnic teachers all have.
Luke, who is just going in to his third year, explains: ‘My boss was a student at Melbourne Polytechnic, my current teacher now (Chris Howlett) has taught my boss, the two other apprentices that are above me currently and another apprentice under me.’
All but one person in the company has been through Chris’s classes and Luke says he’d love to carry on the ‘family’ tradition; one day when he has his own business he’d like to send his apprentices to Melbourne Polytechnic too.
The 22-year-old says he took the landscaping path after he finished studying marketing and financial planning at university. His father has his own financial planning business, so following in his footsteps would have been easy, but the indoor life wasn’t for Luke.
‘I’d always done part-time work with landscaping and maintenance and gardens so I took a gap year, went to Europe and did all that kumbaya stuff and ‘found myself’ and came back and thought ‘I’m not going back to uni, I’m going to get into landscaping’.
Luke got talking to the landscaper who had done the backyard of the family home then signed on as an apprentice and is now studying towards the Certificate III in Landscape Construction. He loves landscaping as ‘it’s almost like every trade in one, you’ve got aspects of carpentry, plumbing, some electrical work, the irrigation and also your planting and horticulture, so you’re doing something different every day’.
‘And I also like the fact that you don’t have to be millimetre perfect – if you’re a chippie and you’re not millimetre perfect a door won’t close, where this is more like you go by eye and you can use your creative and artistic flair in a way that’s pretty special,’ he says.
Luke also loves how good landscaping adds so much value to a property. ‘It’s one of those things as well where you’re showing someone through your house and your backyard is always the last thing that you show. You open the doors and that’s your entertaining area and they go ‘wow’. That can make a big difference in terms of your property value. If you’ve got a great backyard or a terrible backyard, it’s makes a massive difference.’
Luke speaks highly of his Melbourne Polytechnic teachers and not just the one who’s taught everyone. ‘The teachers are great, we get along with every single teacher,’ he says. ‘They speak to you as a peer which is really great, and it makes a big difference in your learning as well, you respect someone a lot more if they show that respect.
Valuable Teacher Support
‘They’re always there to make sure that you get treated fairly by your bosses.
‘They also take an interest in your personal life and I’m in a band, I’m a singer as well, it’s a bit of a hobby and Chris has come to a couple of our gigs and supported my band. There’s not many teachers I think would do that.’ The band is on a bit of a hiatus, but he describes Animal Arcade as kind of rock-blues, Kings of Leon, Black Keys vibe.
The Future Looks Bright Green
So where does Luke see himself heading in the future? Running his own show. ‘Hopefully I’ll be sending my students here, hopefully I’m one of the bosses and they can say ‘I taught him. You want to send your apprentices to something you know is going to be pretty good, and from what I’ve experienced myself I’d be happy to send my apprentices here.’
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