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Rewired From engineer to apprentice

TAFE NSW Goulburn

Rewired From engineer to apprentice

A TAFE NSW apprenticeship has become plan-A for an honours university graduate who faced a lack of engineering employment opportunities.

Former North Nowra resident Matthew Conley, who is now based in Queanbeyan, applied for jobs around the nation along with a surplus of other engineering graduates but never secured a position.

After some time working in carpentry and on an olive farm, he was offered an apprenticeship as an electrician and never looked back.

“Despite already having a uni degree, studying at TAFE NSW Nowra as part of my apprenticeship will give me a Certificate III in Electrical making me more employable,” Mr Conley said.

“It’s about being in demand and having the practical skills you need for the job you want. I now have a career and direction I’m happy with.”

Mr Conley, said while his new skills will mean he is in demand, as a second-year-apprentice electrician he enjoyed having two ways to approach a problem, as an engineer and as an electrician.

“As an engineer straight out of uni you definitely don’t know it all. When it comes to electrical there’s plenty to learn.

When he’s learning on the job it is under the watchful eye of Queanbeyan-based Woodlands Industries owner John Bruce.

Mr Bruce was pleased to bring Mr Conley onto his team, knowing his combination of engineering knowledge and job-ready skills learned at TAFE NSW would likely be a valuable combination.

Mr Bruce has worked throughout Shoalhaven, Illawarra, Canberra and Queanbeyan. He is no stranger to TAFE NSW having put about 20 apprentice electricians through the state’s largest training provider over the years.

He completed his own apprenticeship through TAFE NSW about 40 years ago, it was a path his two sons also followed.

“I can’t praise those teachers enough for how far above and beyond they go,” Mr Bruce said.

“TAFE NSW apprentices come out confident, and competent with a good basic understanding of the trade.”

Find out how TAFE NSW students get jobs faster. Visit or phone 131 601 to find out more.

Media contact: Adam Wright, TAFE NSW media officer, 4421 9895, mobile 0466 375 552.