Surf's up for Andrew. He has caught a big wave with a traineeship that has opened up a sea of possibilities for him. Andrew was not keen on school but he sure enjoyed surfing. Now he has found his niche in the surfing industry and is making this his career.
The tide turned for Andrew when he chose surfing as an elective subject at school. Andrew's surf instructor saw that Andrew loved surfing and suggested that he might want to consider working in the surfing industry. Andrew took up this suggestion by doing work experience at a surf shop, Inside Edge, owned by the surfing instructor's brother, renowned surfing identity Brian Weir.
Brian took Andrew in hand and recommended him to a company called Aleeda Wet Suits that design and make wetsuits. Although there was no job opening, Andrew volunteered to work for two weeks without pay. At the end of these two weeks, the boss was happy and Andrew had landed himself a job.
Andrew had been working there for one year when the offer of a traineeship came up. This traineeship was specially designed for those working at Aleeda and was the first of its kind in this industry. Andrew took up the offer enthusiastically. The traineeship involved one year of on-the-job training. The subjects ranged from sewing, cutting and identification of patterns to teamwork and retail work. Andrew was such a success that halfway through the traineeship he was promoted to head cutter and soon after, factory supervisor.
'You can go down to the pub with your mates but you get nothing out of that. I just think it's good to go out and learn some different things and have a good career in the future. That's what I've pretty much aimed for.'
Andrew has completed a graphic art course and pattern-making course that has added to his design skills. 'It gave me a wider knowledge of design work than I had before and will be useful to me in the future.'
Since his training, Andrew spent six months in England working for Gul International, the leading wetsuit and drysuit manufacturer in the U.K. Andrew then spent five months travelling through Europe checking out the European surf designs and the European way of life. Andrew says his experience overseas has broadened his views of how other businesses work.
'I was very impressed by the professionalism of Gul International and particularly their attitude to their staff regarding training and weekly staff meetings for factory staff, which I had not experienced working in a smaller environment,' he said.
Andrew is now spending his spare time meeting with different TAFEs to determine his future studies. He could complete a Clothing Production IV course, which would allow him to enter into second year Diploma in Fashion. Alternatively, he is also considering a Diploma in Management (Marketing) or Small Business Entrepreneurship, which will help him with his goal to run his own business.
Working in the manufacturing environment has given Andrew the skills and confidence to move into many other areas within the industry. He is thinking about exploring sales or marketing.
'I'm really happy with the opportunities I've had from this traineeship and being runner up for the 1999 Australian Training Awards, New Apprenticeship Trainee of the year. I've ended up with a really good opportunity and a really great start.'
‘I can’t remember what I wanted to be at 7 but at 10 I wanted to be an architect because I was good at art.’
‘I hoped to be a professional surfer.’
‘It was mainly one man, Brian Weir, a well known surfing identity up here, who talked to me about the surfing industry and helped push me further.’
‘A year after I’d been working in my job I started a course that was designed specifically for me and trainees where I work.’
‘Halfway through the traineeship I took over the head cutting position so I was doing more than I was meant to be doing and I was keen to go on further.’
‘It’s a good industry to be in. A lot of my friends are in the industry as well, they like to get cheaper wetsuits off me.’
‘I want to own my own company.’