Paul Tran left the Australian Federal Police to try something different – Melbourne Polytechnic's Certificate III in Carpentry.
Paul's carpentry skills were recognised with a $1000 study grant, and with his growing experience he'll move straight into a foreman role when he completes his apprenticeship.
Paul Tran worked in the Australian Federal Police as a Protective Service Officer while also training in the Army Reserve. "I liked it but it didn't give me the career opportunities that I wanted. I knew it wasn't a true career – it wasn't something that would grow."
So he decided to try his hand at carpentry. "The career change gave me a better lifestyle. Instead of shift work, I now work day-time hours. Carpentry also gives me skills I can use in everyday life – if I want to renovate at home in the future."
Paul completed his pre-apprenticeship, then signed up to an apprenticeship with construction company Lend Lease and began the Melbourne Polytechnic Certificate III in Carpentry in 2010.
"When I did my pre-apprenticeship at another TAFE, they were well-funded but they didn't have the trade expertise. I didn't find the way the course was taught very practical or trade-friendly – it was very IT based. I knew NMIT [Melbourne Polytechnic former name] was more geared towards trades so I took a bit of a punt and enrolled. As soon as I started at Melbourne Polytechnic I knew it was the right place to be."
The course, taught at Melbourne Polytechnic's Heidelberg Campus, trains students in the carpentry skills of building and construction, including constructing roofs, wall frames and flooring systems. Paul enjoyed the focus on the skills of carpentry. "The course was very hands-on. It got you doing a lot of practical work. All the teachers were very helpful and eager to teach if you were willing to learn."
During his studies Paul received a $1000 study grant from the Melbourne Polytechnic Industry Foundation, awarded at a presentation evening in April 2011. He has now finished the Melbourne Polytechnic Certificate III in Carpentry and will complete his apprenticeship at the beginning of 2013.
Paul has worked on large commercial buildings including the Royal Children's Hospital, the Melbourne Wholesale Fruit, Vegetable and Flower Market at Epping and is currently working on a high-rise office building. At the end of his apprenticeship he will step into the role of foreman.
"I'd like to stay in that role for at least the next ten years and hopefully run my own small projects as well."
Certificate III in Carpentry