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A jolt in the right direction

A small electric shock as a child left Reece Zamiak fascinated with electricity and on a path to become an electrician.

By TAFE Queensland

Despite his dad being a sparky, Reece said his family connection to the electrical trade wasn't what persuaded him to join.

"One day I was playing with the old yellow, red and white cable that goes in the back of the TV and I got a little shock, that's what got me intrigued about the field of electricity. It wasn't intentional, falling into the same shoes as my dad, it just happened that way," he said.

Reece, 25, said he investigated the trade further to make sure it was the right career choice.

"I decided that I should actually do some work experience prior to applying for an apprenticeship. I did and realised that becoming an electrician was definitely the job that I could see myself doing every day," he said.

After confirming it was a career path he wanted to follow, Reece went on to enrol in a Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Career Start) (UEE22011).

"Pre-apprenticeship training was actually really good because it taught me the fundamentals of electricity and other important things like workplace safety."

"I was also able to gain hands-on training in the workshop which was definitely really good because it exposed me to the work I would be doing if I was an apprentice under a tradesperson," Reece continued.

"When I did apply for an apprenticeship, I was told that it was really good that I had already completed pre-apprenticeship training and my prior learning was recognised so I didn't have to repeat anything."

After completing his certificate II, Reece then travelled from his home town of Weipa to the Cairns campus to complete a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician (UEE30811) via block training.

Reece said his apprenticeship at a mine site exposed him to a wide variety of electrical work.

"Working at a mine site is a lot different to your normal domestic sort of electrical experience. I was rotated between a number of workshops so I was able to learn about how everyone goes about their job, from electrical workers in a distribution powerhouse to a line repair worker," Reece said.

"During my apprenticeship I completed all sorts of tasks, from installing delicate network cable systems to fitting ceiling fans and placing cables underneath concrete to support the installation of large equipment," he said.

Reece, a Torres Strait Islander and Teppathiggi Aboriginal man, is a natural-born leader and mentor. He has visited schools in Bamaga, Injinoo and the Torres Strait to encourage students to consider a trade career in mining.

"I tell anyone who is interested in a career as an electrician to go for it. My advice is to ask for information and try to get some industry exposure through work experience or a pre-apprenticeship course," he said.

"The electrical industry is a lot of fun, it's so interesting and there are so many different types of jobs and work available."

Reece's commitment to his trade and enthusiasm to give back was acknowledged at the Cairns Trade Excellence Awards. He took home two trophies, recognised as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Trades Student of the Year and Outstanding Apprentice of the Year.