Blogs (Media Centre)

TAFE NSW graduates build a thriving business together

TAFE NSW graduates build a thriving business together

Mitchell Hawthorn and Brendan Thomsen

Amid a construction boom across regional NSW, TAFE NSW building graduates Mitchell Hawthorn and Brendan Thomsen are making the most of NSW Government subsidies to grow their Newcastle business by taking on new TAFE NSW trained apprentices.

With nine TAFE NSW graduates currently working in the business, Brendan said the quality of TAFE NSW trained employees is second to none.

“I feel very strongly about sending my apprentices to TAFE NSW for their apprenticeship training, knowing from experience, they will learn a broad range of practical skills that will benefit the business.

“The level of detail and the one-on-one attention students receive from industry-trained teachers means there is no better option than TAFE NSW.”

After meeting at TAFE NSW studying a Certificate III in Carpentry and a Certificate IV in Building and Construction, Brendan and Mitchell started their own building business together, Thomsen and Hawthorne Building Services.

“I started my career in butchery and it didn’t feel right, that’s when I knew I was on the right track wanting to work with my hands but the building industry was for me. TAFE NSW helped me make the transition into a career that I love,” Brendan said.

“Studying at TAFE NSW enabled me to learn hands-on skills from industry experts and get exposure to different aspects of the trade that you don’t always get onsite. It was great to learn about running a commercial business through the Certificate IV in Building and Construction and become a licensed builder.”

Mitchell said the business is growing so rapidly, they plan to take on multiple apprentices in the coming months to keep up with demand.

“The recent NSW Government subsidies for businesses looking to employ an apprentice has given us the confidence to expand the business,” he said.

TAFE NSW Carpentry and Construction Head Teacher Steve Kenworthy said now is the perfect time for local trades to consider employing an apprentice.

“Jobs for skilled workers in the construction industry are expected to continue to increase, and there are many low cost and fee-free courses available through the NSW Government JobTrainer initiative for the community to take advantage of,” he said.

To find out more about the construction courses available for enrolment at TAFE NSW in semester one and the various subsidies for employers, visit or phone 131 601.