19 March 2021

Bega Council traineeships offer young people the chance of a career in their own community

| Sharon Kelley
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Dillon Aldridge

Former trainee and current acting Team Leader, Dillon Aldridge with the tools of the trade. Photo: Supplied.

It’s the question many young people are often asked – what are you going to be when you grow up?

Not everyone knows the answer, even after completing Year 12, but Bega Valley Shire Council might be able to provide some with answers as they prepare to offer Council Traineeships giving school leavers a chance to live in their own community and have a fulfilling career.

Dillon Aldridge completed his two-year Water and Sewerage Services traineeship with Bega Valley Shire Council 10 years ago in 2011.

“I finished Year 12 and it just came up at the right time,” he said.

“I didn’t really have a clear goal of what I wanted to do at the time so I decided to apply for the traineeship.

“I didn’t really want to leave my family – we’re all pretty close. I enjoyed staying close to the community and giving back where I can,” said Dillon.

He said the traineeship gave him on-the-job training while he also studied for his Certificate III in Water and Sewerage Operations.

“I didn’t have any experience in plumbing,” said Dillon.

“And I was fresh out of school, but the guys were really good and they made me feel like a valued team member right from the start.

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“Starting out was a little bit daunting – a lot to take in – and to be honest I’m still learning the system. You never stop learning in this job.

“I’m really glad that I stuck with it because I’ve learned a lot and now I’m an experienced team member and studying for my Certificate IV.”

Dillon said the traineeship was a great opportunity to learn, putting him through all due processes and certifications he needed while learning on the job.

“For young people, it’s a great leg up to getting a career locally. It’s good to have it close to home.”

Council’s Assets and Operations Director Anthony McMahon said the traineeship program works well for school leavers, but also for local businesses and industries.

“We’re introducing a regular flow of skilled, willing and qualified workers into the local business community,” said Mr McMahon.

“While it’s known that regional living provides limited opportunities for young people we often forget to mention the other problem of skills shortages in local industries.

“We train school leavers up as trainees, cadets and apprentices. Some, like Dillon, stay and forge successful careers with Council, and others take their skills and use them locally.

“An investment in a trainee is an investment in our community on many levels, and we’re really happy to be offering another round of traineeships this year in the Water and Sewerage Services area.

“We’ll be advertising for up to five traineeship positions and one electrical apprenticeship this month. If, like Dillon, you are a school leaver or young person unsure of which direction your career will take, we encourage you to consider this as a great chance to live and work locally.

Dillon Aldridge hopes to pass on some of what he’s learned in his time as a trainee and full-time team member.

“There’s so much to this job and with the right training, you get to experience a wide range of tasks and responsibilities from installing new water mains to repairing broken ones in the middle of the night.

“There’s a good feeling you get when you know the work you are doing is for the people in the community. It’s great to be giving the environment a little help too.”

The latest round of traineeships will be advertised on Bega Valley Shire Council’s Careers at Council page, with further information about Council’s training programs.

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