Carpentry apprentice starts own business

Brad recently completed a Cert III carpentry apprenticeship with 1300apprentice, with a bit more study he will have a building licence. Read how his journey began and how a carpentry apprentice starts his own business.

I spoke with Brad and his boss Dave who both started their apprenticeship program with 1300apprentice. David started his own business after completing an apprenticeship himself. Now he has grown his business with two apprentices and encourages them to advance towards their own building licence to continue their working relationship.

I have the courage and knowledge to start my own business. 💪🏼

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First up, I wanted to know how Brad began his carpentry career. I visited the work site to hear his and his employers thoughts on how the apprenticeship process was going for them.

Hi my name is Brad, I’m an apprentice with 1300apprentice and my host employer is Dave Swingler.

What led you to an apprenticeship?

So originally I started off doing a plumbing apprenticeship back in high school and I dropped out of school and did that for a while and thought this was not really the trade for me so I looked into carpentry. I actually went back to school to finish my HSC, got year 12 all done.

“While I was plumbing I wasn’t being treated the best and wasn’t getting paid right.”

1300apprentice visited my school and interviewed anyone interested in a VET course. I did one of their interviews, and a couple of months later I was signed up and off I was going as a carpentry apprentice.

Learning from a professional in their trade is a great segway to starting my own business.

Where are you at with your apprenticeship now?

So, I have a day left, last day is tomorrow!

What are the steps for a Carpentry apprentice to start their own business?

The next step once I’ve completed my Certificate III Carpentry apprenticeship is to elect to go on to Certificate IV which is your builders license, like through TAFE or similar.

I’m currently doing my builders course, that’s 3 nights a week. In two years I should have a builders licence.

“I’ll still have a lot to learn before starting my own business…”

What about the half finished house you’re working on?

Yeh I’ll see this from start to finish which is good (staying on with my host employer).

Currently working on the second story, we took out the back half of the place and as you can see the front half is still original and the back half will be new and improved.

It will be all good, we’ll fix out the inside, we’ve done the frame, the slab, then we’ll fix out the inside and go from there, do the roof for a few weeks.

This two story house has been gutted.
A carpentry apprenticeship lead me to my own business.

Hi David, you’re a host employer, how did your building career begin and why do you have an apprentice?

I started out as an apprentice and found my way to 1300apprentice after starting with other builders and then had the experience of being with 1300apprentice which is good.

Brad is the second apprentice I’ve put through 1300apprentice, it’s just a good system. For example, if it’s not working for me or him, he can go “I’ve got a job but I want to do something different”, he can talk to the field officer and say “I’d like to get into framing” and they might have an opportunity to move them without having to find a new apprenticeship and still have job security*.

It happened a few times because sometimes you get to a stage where you might finish a big run of work, or I’m having a break or it gets a bit quiet, you don’t want to see the apprentice get sacked so if you can find another host employer, it’s an easier transition.

I didn’t have to reapply for jobs they just went “Oh we can help”.

Your approach of training from apprentice to tradesman is proving successful.

When I have an apprentice I try to give them the variety of the work and not just do frames or just lay floors or anything like that.

What happens after an apprentice completes?

I have a network of tradesmen I sub out to, once a carpentry apprentice completes and starts their own business I can sub-contract them in the future.

How does 1300apprentice fit in?

As an employer it makes it easy (to partner with 1300apprentice**) because I know their paperwork is all done properly, I know they are getting pays done properly, I know all that’s in order and it takes that paper work strain off me.

*job security is part of the GTO model, how does it work? Check this out: Skills NSW – apprentices & trainees
**partnership with 1300apprentice, see our Employer page.

Thanks Brad & Dave, I’m sure your success is also due to your strong work ethic. I appreciate your time today.

May 2023, David Swingler Building & Carpentry, Sydney

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