Our Students

Xiangming (Martin) Sun

With a passion for carpentry and a love of outdoor activities, Martin decided to enrol in the Certificate II in Building and Construction (Carpentry) Pre-Apprenticeship course.

He found the course set him on the right direction for learning about the construction industry and building a future in carpentry.

“The course gave me a practical feeling for what it means to have a construction career and it made me more confident in seeking a job.”

Martin knew that he had a passion for carpentry and loved being outdoors. This seemed like a good foundation in which to embark on a new career as a carpenter.

Previously a teacher, Martin moved to Melbourne at the age of 24 with his wife who was also a teacher. For the past 8 years, Martin has worked in a factory, retail jobs and looked after a new born baby as well as teaching Mandarin in a Chinese Community School.

As a child Martin learned about timber from his father who was a carpenter overseas; his decision to study the Melbourne Polytechnic pre-apprenticeship course, Certificate II in Building and Construction (Carpentry), seems like a natural one.

“I hoped to learn updated basic construction knowledge, how to comply with current Australian Standards and the tricks of the trade from NMIT [Melbourne Polytechnic’s former name] trade school teachers.”

During his time at Melbourne Polytechnic, Martin found his teachers to be encouraging and supportive.

“My teacher Craig Cartwright provided great support and encouraged us not to give up when we really needed reminding. I was also supported by my workmates on site and now I am happy to support anyone who needs it as it really is so important.”

Throughout the Certificate II, Martin found that he achieved his goals and even more.

“I learned more than I expected. Not only the knowledge, I also learned how to be a good person in my construction career. In the first week, a teacher told us the first rule to being a good carpenter is to be honest. I bear this sentence in mind in my everyday work now. I also learned that safety comes first, always.”

He describes his Melbourne Polytechnic teachers as “coaches” who always looked out for them and passed on offers from employers while they were still studying the course.

Some challenges emerged when having to remember large amounts of new information, but Martin found that with practice, he was able to overcome this hurdle.

“I also found that asking questions was a very necessary skill in my learning.”

He describes the sense of “teamwork” among classmates as a highlight of the course and has recommended the course to his friends and also his employer.

“The course gave me a practical feeling for what it means to have a construction career and it made me more confident in seeking a job. After the pre-apprentice course, I set up my mind to continue following my construction career.”

Martin has now been taken on as an apprentice by GROCON, one of Australia’s premier builders.

“I hope to finish my Certificate III course successfully and gain more knowledge and experience of commercial buildings in the future.”


Certificate II in Building and Construction (Carpentry), Certificate III In Carpentry