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Victorian Award for Local Apprentice

22 May 2007

As a young boy, Sam Mutch always liked playing with wood and making things with his hands.

But after completing Year 12 at Colac High School, Sam, 20, of Carlton, wasn't sure exactly what he wanted to do. Taking time out to clarify his goals, Sam spent a few months working in the shed in the backyard of his parent's home fashioning furniture out of wood.

He soon realised he needed training and to develop his skills, and decided to enrol in the pre-apprenticeship in furniture manufacture at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) last year.

Now, Sam has just beaten more than 200 pre-apprentices from around Victoria to win the 2007 Victorian Furnishing Industry Certificate II in Furnishing Pre-Apprenticeship Cabinet Making Award.

For his award, Sam made a round coffee table out of macassar ebony veneer in a art deco style based on the designs of Ruhlmann in France.

'When I saw all the exhibits made by other pre-apprentices, I didn't think I'd win and that I had done what the judges would be looking for,' Sam said.

'When I won, I was really shocked; there was disbelief but after a second and a half, the win sunk in and I was excited and very happy.'

Sam said his award had validated his career choice and he was proud and satisfied that his hard work had all paid off.

'It was very rewarding and to be good at what you do makes you feel better.'

He added the win had 'inspired' him to achieve even more in the next two years of his apprenticeship.

Sam is now a second-year apprentice studying Certificate III in Furnishing (Cabinet Making) and works for Bainbridge Fine Furniture in Tullamarine.

Sam also won two other awards at NMIT - NMIT pre-apprentice of the year in 2006 and this year, was awarded a study grant at NMIT of $1,000 to buy tools for his trade.

The study grant was sponsored by the East Ivanhoe Community Bank.

Sam said that after recognising how hard it was to make fine furniture, he had adapted to his training and said it all comes 'second-nature' to him.

He attends NMIT one day a week for his formal training.

He is now considering a career as a guitar manufacturer and wants to run his own business.

'I've been playing the guitar for about two years and would like to go on and make guitars when I complete my apprenticeship. '


Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.