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TAFE, Western Sydney student, Zach Whalan won apprentice of the year at the 2016 Blacktown City Local Business Awards. The award acknowledged the hard work and dedication he has put towards his apprenticeship and trade.
Zach told The Blacktown Sun that he knew he wanted to build kitchens from a very young age "I actually had to get signed out of school early because I left school at the age of 15 to pursue this career." he said.
Zach started his apprenticeship with AJB Kitchens, and attended Nirimba TAFE one day per week to study Shopfitting and Detailed Joinery. The owners of AJB, Jodie and Andrew Brown, told the Sun that Zach is now a third year apprentice and he has become a fantastic employee. Zach enthusiasm for the trade helped him progresses quickly in his role. Since starting his apprenticeship he is now competent in the construction of cabinets, operating the CNC and getting jobs ready for manufacturing. Zach has proved his proficiency at his job and is now trusted as lead installer for smaller jobs.
Mr Whalan thinks his fast learning may have helped him stand out from the rest of the competitors. "I think what may have impressed the judges is someone of my age progressing through a company like AJB Kitchens at the rate that I have," he said.
Mr Whalan thinks that other young people who are looking to create a successful career should not be afraid to get their hands dirty. He recommends that if they know what they want to do with their lives they should start as soon as possible. He thinks the best way to start, is to find a company that supports young people as they learn their trade. Mr Whalan plans to stay in the industry. "My aim is to finish my trade and to be able to carry out manufacturing of a kitchen from start to finish".