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TAFE NSW's Callum is in the IT crowd at just 16

TAFE NSW's Callum is in the IT crowd at just 16

A Nowra teenager who found an alternative to school at TAFE NSW has landed his dream job in the growth industry of information technology, all before he is old enough to drive unsupervised. 

Callum Francis, 16, is working as a trainee IT specialist in networking with local company, Skynet Broadband, helping to meet a growing demand for IT professionals amid steady economic and population growth in the region. 

Callum, who has been interested in computers since he was five and was “always the IT guy in the family”, is studying a Certificate III in Information Technology at TAFE NSW and says being paid to learn his profession is the best result he could have hoped for. 

“Thanks to my course at TAFE NSW, I’ve got a great job doing something different every day while working towards getting trade papers and a certificate when I complete my training,” he said. 

“There are so many opportunities in the industry and one of the best things is that I study online which makes learning more accessible and I can earn money without having to move to one of the big cities.” 

Teacher, Information Technology, Rodney Owen said the teenager was leading the way for young people by training for an in-demand role in a career with huge demand for qualified workers. 

“Our Certificate III in IT course gives students a strong knowledge of office software, business and IT technology with transferrable skills that graduates can use across any industry, as well as pathways towards further training,” he said. 

“Online learning has been a great way to deliver those skills to Callum, who’s been able to convert a childhood love of computers and technology into a career with almost unlimited potential.” 

Skynet Broadband owner Simon Devine said the company had struggled to find trainees for several years but in Callum he found a young man who can deliver valuable work in telephony, internet services and networking, underpinned by comprehensive training with TAFE NSW. 

“Callum did really well right from the start, supporting our work with the National Broadband Network, helping our customers with desktop support and supplying their phone, internet and networking needs,” he said. 

“Working with TAFE NSW to provide his training on the job and online has made a big difference to us as the business grows.” 

Turning 17 later this month, Callum is getting his driver-learning hours up as he continues to learn on the job – and is keen to remind his school friends that he owns a car and will soon be licensed to drive – while building a career at the same time. 

“Some of them are a bit jealous that I’m earning and learning but I say to anyone interested in doing the same thing, get on it and give it a go,” he said. 

“When you think that you can get paid and get your nationally recognised certification as well - why wouldn’t you do it?”