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The will to succeed

Will Barwick has followed the success story of pianist turned builder and former TAFE Queensland graduate Rachael Turner for years. Now, he's following in her footsteps, pursuing his passion for building and construction and starting his own journey to become a qualified builder.

"I wanted to get into this industry because I've seen the results that people get that have followed similar pathways, people such as Rachael Turner. I've followed her story since she first began and I found it quite inspirational that she could go from such a different career to building yet still do so well out of it," Will said.

Despite his passion for the industry, it took Will a little while to decide on his future career. After high school he followed many of his fellow classmates to university, starting a degree in property economics. But despite doing well in school, he soon found that uni wasn't for him.

"I'd rather be on site learning rather than looking at a computer," Will said.

A chance meeting with one of his old high school teachers led to him landing a carpentry apprenticeship and starting an entirely new career path. After being at university, Will found that the TAFE learning environment was very different.

"At TAFE Queensland you're there to do what you want to do, not what you're made to do," he said.

"Uni's are very commercial. You're not even a student, you're just another number. But I find at TAFE Queensland the teacher's know your name — I don't know if you'd get that with your university lecturers. I wasn't there for long but you could tell they don't really care," he said.

When it came to choosing which training provider to complete his apprenticeship through, Will asked around. Others in the industry who had done their apprenticeship through TAFE Queensland told Will the teachers at TAFE Queensland were better than anywhere else.

"It's like you're their only student, they take care with whatever you're trying to learn. If you don't get it, they don't mind spending extra time with you to make sure that you know it once you're finished," he said.

As soon as Will arrived at TAFE Queensland's Acacia Ridge campus and saw where he'd be completing his training, he realised he'd made the right decision.

"I couldn't believe how big the campus was, how many facilities they have, and the tools — they're all pretty much brand new," he said.

As part of his apprenticeship, Will combines his TAFE training with practical work experience on the job. Finding the right balance between work and training has been pretty easy for Will.

"With the flexi work arrangement I can come to TAFE when my employer doesn't have much work on. At the moment they've got heaps on at work so they didn't want me to come to TAFE next week. So that's all good, I'll just catch up with it later on," he said.

Now that his skills are developing, Will loves the practical nature of the industry and being able to see projects come together before his eyes.

"I love how you get to appreciate your work at the end of the day. You can see what you've done rather than just writing in a book all day," he said.

While he's already well on his way to becoming a qualified carpenter Will doesn't want to stop there. In the future he plans on following in the footsteps of other successful Brisbane-based builders like Rachael Turner, and even has plans of one day becoming a residential developer.

For anyone else considering a career in the building and construction industry, Will says to ask for some work experience opportunities to see if it's the right fit for you. And to of course make sure you choose the right training provider.

"TAFE Queensland can give you the skills that will enable you to do well in the industry."