Sheree Pumpa, 19, is focused. In Year 11 she enrolled in TAFE at School and completed a Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Career Start) (UEE22011). Today, Sheree lives six hours from her family to work as an electrical apprentice. She is also completing a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician (UEE30811) at no cost thanks to free apprenticeships for under 25s funding.
"I relocated to Townsville from Julatten at the start of 2020 because I was offered an electrical apprenticeship with RoadTek North Queensland. I service streetlights and traffic lights and I find it really interesting learning about how they work. The best part of the job is the constant learning opportunities, and all of the electricians I work with are very helpful," Sheree said.
It was a significant change for Sheree. She went from being home-schooled via distance education to living alone, away from family, just when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged.
"None of my family could visit for months on end. That was difficult as I knew basically noone here and was living by myself for the first time."
However, Sheree feels it was well worth it and said she enjoys everything about her trade and training. Sheree attends block training every few months at the TAFE Queensland Townsville (Trade Training Centre Bohle) campus.
"My TAFE teachers are very knowledgeable on the topics we cover and on the actual requirements of the job," Sheree said.
And while she's the only female in her class, Sheree is very enthusiastic about encouraging more women to get involved in a trade.
"Go for it! Also, there are so many people going to uni who never finish their courses. You can do uni at any stage in life. But at the end of the day, with a trade, you've always got something to fall back on," Sheree said.
Sheree will graduate without any student loans or having paid any course fees, as she is accessing free apprenticeships for under 25s funding. The State Government initiative supports young Queenslanders up to the age of 25 by providing access to fully subsidised training across a range of priority apprenticeship or traineeship qualifications.