Warrnambool's Dean Luciani is helping make a difference for apprentices on a global stage.
And the changes could lead to real-world impacts for some and allow them to complete part of their training overseas - something they haven't been able to do before.
The chief executive officer of Westvic Staffing Solutions has just returned from Geneva where he has helped set minimum standards for apprenticeships - a world first.
Mr Luciani, who has 25 years' experience in the industry, was part of a technical committee at the recent 11th International Labour Organisation Conference where recommendations for apprenticeships were adopted.
"It is pretty historic in that apprenticeships have been around for thousands of years, and this is the first time that member countries - about 187 of them - have actually put some common language and minimum standards for apprenticeships to be recognised globally on the agenda," he said.
"For all the time apprenticeships have been around it's taken until now for the world to come together.
"It's a pretty big deal for me because apprenticeships and vocational education training are my passion."
Mr Luciani said Australia had one of the most advanced apprenticeship systems in the world but in some developing countries apprentices weren't paid or they ran "informal apprenticeships".
"It's really hard to ever develop a true apprenticeship system if there's not a minimum standard or a guideline to follow," he said.
The conference was held at the United Nations building in Geneva last month and took the first steps in setting some standards for the long-term. "For me it's a career highlight to be quite honest," Mr Luciani said.
Coming up with worldwide recommendations required long 10 to 12-hour days but their implications could bring real change.
Mr Luciani said a second-year builder who might want to go and work in the UK had to put their apprenticeship on hold, and even if they worked in the building trade overseas there was no recognition for it.
"I can see a time in the not too distant future when not only will young people continue to travel the world, as they do, but they might actually be able to pick up some formal recognition for work they might do," he said.
"The world is so small now. There's a really big picture here."
Mr Luciani, who started out as an apprentice, said a large majority of people in Australia made a choice to follow a higher education or vocational education and training pathway but some countries didn't get the choice.
"For some countries this could have a massive impact on people being able to find a job, make a reasonable living, develop some skills and start that journey of life-long learning," he said.
"I know people who started off as an apprentice but finished off a doctor.
"I know people who started off as teachers and finished up as electricians.
"The whole thing is a journey and you don't know where you're going to finish up."
Warrnambool-based Westvic Staffing Solutions will turn 40 next year and over the decades has put thousands through their trades.
The average completion rate for apprenticeships in Australia is 55 to 58 per cent but for Westvic it is just under 80 per cent, Mr Luciani said. "We're just better at it in the bush. That's not my opinion, that's fact," he said.
"That's what I see every day and that's what the statistics tell us."
We're just better at it in the bush. That's not my opinion, that's fact.- Dean Luciani
Mr Luciani has been on the board of the state-based industry association for 15 years, the last 12 as its chair.
In recent years he helped create GAN (Global Apprenticeship Network) Australia - a member of the GAN Global organisation which was set up by the International Organisation for Employers.
In recent years he was appointed to the board of GAN Global which led to his trip to Switzerland.
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