Mature-age, the ‘new-age’ apprentice

An adult apprentice, whose potential was initially spotted by his host employer while working as a labourer, has been chosen as the East Coast Apprenticeships (ECA) 2018 Canadian Exchange Apprentice Ambassador.

Third-year carpenter, Robert Vidler, will swap a Greenslopes commercial construction site, for work on a million-dollar mansion in British Columbia, as part of a month-long work and study tour this June.

It is a long way from country New South Wales where Robert grew up and began his work life.

“It would be great to show people who might not think they’re good enough for something like this, that no matter where you come from, you can do whatever you put your mind to,” said Robert.

The Canadian scholarship is a collaboration between ECA and Sister Organisation SkillSource British Columbia. It’s designed as an international learning experience for respective winners and to also strengthen the relationship between both countries.

ECA CEO Alan Sparks said Robert’s life experience would make him an ideal trade ambassador.

“The average age of apprentices signed up in Queensland, last financial year, was 24.4 years,” said Mr Sparks.

“Robert is fairly typical of that trend. He had changed jobs several times since leaving school and was labouring for Kane Constructions when he was spotted for his work ethic and leadership potential.

“The adult apprenticeship is definitely becoming more the norm.”

While in Vancouver, Robert will spend time with premier BC framing company Dalmore Constructions, attend British Columbia Institute of Technology, and perform Ambassador roles within the province.

“Canada makes me want to push even harder to see what other opportunities are out there,” said Robert. “It won’t end here.”

His first task though is getting his younger brother to follow in his footsteps.

“I’m trying to encourage him to start a carpentry apprenticeship. I would have loved to have done it when I was younger, so I’m going to bring him up here and try to convince him!”

Interested in an apprenticeship or traineeship?  Register at or call 3881 3166.

Media contact:  East Coast Apprenticeships Communications Officer Dana Lang 0404 866 903.




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