FROM a young age Mar Gattek knew he wanted to be a plumber.
The 17-year-old has started a full-time plumbing apprenticeship at Southern Victorian Plumbing, and says the support he received from his school and employer have helped secure a strong future in his chosen trade.
When Mar was 12, a plumber came to his house and he was intrigued by what he was doing.
“I started watching him working, fixing the taps, and I thought I wanted to try it and see what it was like,” he said.
A few years later, while at Emmanuel College, Vocational Education Training in Schools co-ordinator David Gladman told Mar about the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning, where he would be able to study plumbing one day a week at South West TAFE, while still at school.
“I signed up for it and I really enjoyed it. I knew it was what I wanted to do,” he said.
After a few months he spoke to Mr Gladman again, who urged him to begin a school-based apprenticeship.
“I started doing that and it was great,” he said. “I worked with a plumber every Wednesday and I learnt heaps.”
Mar enjoyed work experience at Southern Victorian Plumbing, before calling director Darren Smith who offered him a full-time apprenticeship.
Mr Gladman said the VCAL program gave Mar the opportunity to “test the water” with his chosen trade, before jumping in to a full-time apprenticeship.
“Mar was very pro-active,” he said. “He got on the front foot by giving Darren a call.”
Mr Smith, whose business employs two full-time apprentices each year, said the VCAL program had ensured Mar was “job ready”.
“Mar already comes with numerous weeks of work experience, his white card and five weeks of trade school, so he is ready to start work,” he said.
“He’s much more productive for us and he’s getting more out of it, and so are we.”
He lauded Mar’s initiative to get on the phone to ask about a job.
“It shows us keenness,” Mr Smith said.
Mar, who is also a talented footballer, would like to run his own plumbing business one day.
“I’ve always had my own dream to own a company like Darren,” he said. “I’m learning how he runs the business and how it is structured.”