It’s been a quarter of a century since Gulgong local Mark Cummins completed his glass and glazing training at TAFE NSW and now his son is following in his footsteps, deciding to pursue a trade after high school along with a growing number of school leavers.
With more than 77 per cent of NSW vocational education graduates employed full time after they complete their training, Joel Cummins decided his skills were better used doing a hands-on trade in a glazing industry worth $2.1 billion.
Joel is studying a Certificate III in Glass and Glazing at TAFE NSW Lidcombe, in Sydney’s Inner West, which is the only registered training organisations in NSW to offer the course.
The father and son duo work together for their company, Gulgong Glass, which Mark has owned for 12 years. He said the industry is thriving because glass had become a large structural part of new home designs in the area in recent years. The pair have worked on a number of big projects around the Central Tablelands, including glass fitting for Craigmoor Winery.
“Studying at TAFE NSW was one of the highlights of my apprenticeship. I always looked forward to going to class because the teachers genuinely cared about the trade and it showed through the wealth of industry connections they had,” Mark said.
"It makes me proud to see my son broadening his skill set by learning from dedicated TAFE NSW teachers, just like the teachers who taught me.”
TAFE NSW Glass and Glazing head teacher, Mark Nicholls, taught Mark 25 years ago and is now teaching Joel.
"Mark was a great student and you can see it clearly reflected in his son. They have a passion for the trade and a drive to broaden their skill-set with TAFE NSW,” he said.
“It shows that trades like glass and glazing are still highly sought after and there is still a preference to gain practical skills and work experience by having a trade qualification rather than go to university.”
More than 6,000 job openings for glaziers across the state are forcasted over the next five years.  Joel is working full time work and is half way through his TAFE NSW course which he began straight after the HSC.
“I completed the HSC but chose to undergo an apprenticeship, and to study at TAFE NSW, because the university environment was not suited to my style of hands-on learning,” he said.
“TAFE NSW is a great, hands-on learning environment where I get the opportunity to work with students from all over NSW who travel to Lidcombe to study in the TAFE NSW glass and glazing facilities.”
“I’m now working in a career I love and I get to share that passion with my father.”
To learn more about the courses offered at TAFE NSW, visit www.tafensw.ed.au or call 131 601
Media contact: Jessica Cortis, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner, 0456 170 211