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Tiling apprentice puts her world-renowned precision to great use

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone with more energy, determination and commitment than 19-year-old Australian Athlete and TAFE Queensland student, Ada Lacey. The Certificate III in Wall and Floor Tiling (CPC31311) apprentice has represented Australia (several times) in synchronised ice-skating, luge (yes, luge!) and was an Australian weight-lifting champion at age 14.

By TAFE Queensland

Ada’s athleticism saw her primed to qualify for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, however, COVID-19 travel restrictions sadly saw her have to push her competing date back - to the Milano Cortina Winter Olympics in 2026.

One person who has ‘welcomed’ this rescheduling, however, is Tyson – her employer at Tyson Tiling Services – who has picked up a motivated apprentice with a laser-like focus and who is in peak physical condition. Ada’s journey to her apprenticeship has been an interesting one, and was significantly aided by TAFE Queensland’s JobTrainer funding.

In 2019 Ada was back living in Brisbane, having moved to Melbourne in 2012 for her parents’ work commitments, but still travelling up to Brisbane 25 weeks/year to train in the Australian synchronised ice-skating team AND travelling to Nagano for a few weeks per year for luge training).

Whilst casually scrolling through TikTok in late 2020 she came across a bricklaying and tiling video, which had her entranced. Having “never picked up a tool in my life” Ada jumped on to the internet immediately to see how she could get involved, as she needed a career to fall back on outside of her athletic pursuits.

“TAFE Queensland popped up on my search straight away – and I realised I could complete a Certificate I in Construction (CPC10111) to get me started, and that it was free under the JobTrainer funding. This suited me perfectly as I love trying new things, bust my bum to get what I want, and the fact that it wouldn’t cost me anything was a bonus,” Ada said.

“From there I enrolled, there were four other girls in the group of about 11, and the tiling teacher, Grant Jobs, absolutely blew me away with everything he knew, and how kind he was to everyone in the class."

“At the end of the course, which was about three months long, I asked Grant to help me to find me some work experience, and he helped me do that and get an apprenticeship, and now I’m at Tyson Tiling Services, working five days a week and actually tiling already on residential jobs, learning, and DOING something new every day."

“I’ve started my Certificate III in Wall and Floor Tiling (CPC31311) back at TAFE Queensland Acacia Ridge campus – block training to fit in with my apprenticeship - and I hope I get Grant as my teacher again – he was just so supportive and with so much knowledge,” she finished.

As for why she loves the tiling trade so much, especially given her focus on all things sport, Ada says it's about the end result.

“I get massive satisfaction standing back and looking at some wall tiling I’ve completed and just knowing – yeah I did that. It’s just so rewarding.”

For someone who equally loves throwing herself feet-first down an ice-tunnel at 6 G-force speed, tiling is clearly delivering on enjoyment for Ada.

JobTrainer is a joint Federal and State Government fund supporting Queenslanders to develop the skills they need to gain employment in high demand occupations. JobTrainer assists school leavers and job seekers in entering high priority skills areas, such as healthcare, mental health, community services, early childhood, construction and cyber-security. JobTrainer means training is more affordable than ever, with eligible Queenslanders now able to complete selected qualifications for free or low cost.