Blade had an interest in cars from a young age, but didn't always see the value in getting a TAFE qualification. But when an opportunity to start his trade training while he was still at school presented itself, he realised it could help him launch his automotive career sooner.
"It's helped a lot, now that I've nearly finished school I've got an apprenticeship to start and I was able to get into what I've wanted to do for a long time," Blade said.
Applying for the TAFE at School program was an easy decision for Blade who was keen to spend his time at school doing something that would help him in his future career.
"School didn't really have the opportunities to prepare you for something like mechanical work. The most things you could do was wood work or metal work, whereas here at TAFE we could actually work on the cars and get the qualifications we needed to actually become a mechanic," he said.
Blade soon found that he was more suited to the practical learning style and adult learning environment offered by TAFE.
"I learn a lot quicker and a lot better if I'm actually doing something and it's hands on," he said.
Unlike school, at TAFE Blade got to learn on the same tools and equipment used in industry, preparing him to enter the workforce.
"At TAFE we got to use the hoist, we got to look at motors when they were stripped down, we got to use a lot of diagnosing tools like the scan tools they use to diagnose what's wrong with the car, we got to jump start cars and learn how to change tyres — it really helps when you start an apprenticeship because it's what you're going to use out in the workforce," Blade said.
Blade also found that his TAFE teachers were different than his teachers at school, with one even putting in a good word for him to help him secure an apprenticeship after finishing his course.
"TAFE teachers actually help you. If you don't understand something they'll physically stop and come over and teach you, whereas at school they're focused on so many other students they can't really focus on one person," he said.
While some of his friends wonder why he didn't choose to finish school before he started his career, Blade thinks he made the right choice.
"The way I see it, this opportunity is a lot better than school. By the time they're finished school and doing uni I'll be a fully-qualified mechanic," he said.
Looking back on his experience, Blade would recommend the TAFE at School program to anyone looking to kick start their career.
"It really helps employers look at you and see your skill level and how you've actually tried. It shows that you really want to do it and you're passionate about doing it," he said.
With the first day of his automotive apprenticeship just around the corner, Blade is looking forward to putting his new skills into practice.
"I'm really excited to start. It's what I've always wanted to do from such a young age and TAFE's just helped me progress into that," he said.
To anyone thinking about completing their trade training through TAFE Queensland, Blade says to give it a go.
"All the teachers are good-as here, they help you do anything you need help with — it would be a smart choice to do TAFE."