During his apprenticeship, Ryan decided to compete in World Skills, a worldwide competition for trade skills. After finishing in the top two in the country, Ryan was invited to represent Australia in Germany.
Ryan decided that he wasn’t suited to University after finishing VCE. “I got into uni to study Sports Therapy,” said Ryan. “But when I finished all my exams I just thought I really can’t do another 4 or 5 years of study.”
Ryan started working as a labourer for a mate from his local football club in Whittlesea. He had never had any experience with landscaping work before, and found that he liked it.
“When I finished school I did some labouring days and I enjoyed the work so much that I asked my mate for an apprenticeship.”
In his second year as an apprentice, one of Ryan’s Melbourne Polytechnic teachers suggested that he compete at World Skills, an international competition in trade skills.
“They asked me to do the regional competition, which is Victorian based. Whoever comes first and second in that gets sent to represent Victoria in the Nationals.”
Ryan qualified to represent Victoria with fellow student Alden Meale. They both went to Sydney to compete at the national level. “We got one and two there as well,” said Ryan. “That gave us the chance to represent Australia in Germany.”
“Everything that we did during the course was relevant to what I was doing in the competition. The teachers were always willing to give us a hand and make sure that I was completely ready.”
There were a total of 18 countries competing in Ryan’s category, with a total of 68 countries competing in the convention. Ryan’s event required all the competitors to build the same set of structures over four eight hour days.
“We had an area of 7×7 metres and it had a lot of natural stone work that we had to do by hand. We built a timber day bed, a stone water feature, a cobblestone paving and more timber seats that were built into a stone wall, and then a massive garden bed that surrounded it all. We were really happy with the work we did.”
While Ryan has enjoyed his apprenticeship he’s already been approached with work opportunities.
“When I was away in Germany I got offered two jobs to do full-time stone masonry in Europe, which I’d really like to try. There are one or two companies in Victoria that do proper stonework, so even if I don’t go overseas, I’d really like to find my way into one of them.”
Certificate III in Landscaping