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Young Cairns apprentice has a bright future

Sam Wallis has always enjoyed being in nature.

“I’ve always been an outdoors person. I love camping, fishing, stuff like that,” the 19 year old said.

Lucky for Sam, he is undertaking a three year horticulture apprenticeship that Cairns Regional Council (CRC) has created in support of BUSY At Work’s Cairns50 campaign.

Last year Sam undertook a Work Skills Traineeship with CRC, and did so well he continued on with an apprenticeship with the council. Work Skills Traineeship’s are one of seven programs that make up the Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.

Participants undertake funded paid work placements on community, public works and environmental projects for up to six months. The initiative is helping eligible Queenslanders develop skills, gain qualifications and providing assistance to enter and stay in the workforce.

Sam grew up around Cairns, and as he left school and began his employment journey, he said he fell into the parks and garden work, but really enjoys it.

“I love being out in the field. I didn’t want a career sitting indoors at a computer. We do various jobs, so it doesn’t get boring,” Sam said. “I enjoy the workplace and culture, there’s good teamwork, I get to go out and have fun with the guys, do the work and also do some good.”

Sam is one of three apprentices under Dave Parsons, Coordinator of Central Parks at Cairns Regional Council.

“In Sam’s first six months I got to work with him twice in the field, and the first job was cleaning up flying foxes in putrid conditions. He just got in and got it done. We were talking, he was taking it in, even after three hours in hot weather, there was no issue. Towards the end of his six month traineeship I created a position for him. He wasn’t going anywhere!”

Dave, who comes from two generations of timber workers, is passionate about horticulture and arboriculture, and is grateful to have been able to mentor many apprentices over the years.

“The most rewarding aspect is being able to watch them grow,” Dave said. “Sam’s a sponge. He just soaks it up, and seeing him be able to apply what he’s learned and relay it back to you is a great feeling.”

Paul Miles, Managing Director of BUSY At Work, said, “Cairns50 is about increasing employment outcomes in the Cairns region, and Sam’s story is a shining example of how giving young people the right opportunity can set them up for an amazing career. We are really excited for Sam and look forward to seeing where he ends up in the future.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Manjari Fergusson
PHONE: 0436 422 757

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