The 2016 telecommunications industry training program worked out well for me. About 18 months since I set up my company and I’m happy where I am – my company has steady work, a good team manager and support network.

I moved to Cairns four years ago from Brisbane to be close to family and friends. I’d been working on water infrastructure projects in Brisbane but needed a change. It was hard finding full-time work up here. I was doing a bit of casual work, but I knew I was after something more permanent.

I saw an ad for a telecommunications technician traineeship in Townsville that sounded alright, so I gave them a call. I had never thought about starting my own business and I was really unsure at first. There’s a bit of risk involved if it doesn’t work out, so I talked to friends who run their own businesses as well as family and my mentors to make sure I had the right information going in. They all said it looked like a good opportunity, so I thought I’d give it a go. I would know after a couple of weeks if it wasn’t for me.

The training program was about three days of ride-ons with experienced technicians at first and then about seven weeks in the classroom. I’m not great in the classroom, so I took in what I could. I was confident in my ability to learn quickly on the job, and I did. The more jobs you do, the more skills you learn and the more jobs you get. I also owe my company’s success to my Tandem team manager who would always pick up when I called and help where he could.

We’re lucky up in Cairns, particularly during the wet season, because I average about seven jobs a day. Not every day is busy. You work when there’s work. For me, I like working on my own and having flexibility about when I work. You don’t have to rely on other people to do their job or to tell you when you can take lunch. From a business perspective, it’s really good getting the weekly invoices from Tandem. I have mates who run businesses who are chasing money all the time.

Now, new guys are doing ride-ons with me. It’s weird being the one giving the advice. I tell them everything I wanted to know when I was training like to shop around for your vehicle, tools and accountant. I tell them it can be really worthwhile. You just have to stick at it. I’ve since trained up in OMMA and jumpering as well, because everyone has switched to nbn up here. I hope to keep training and getting better. I’m a good technician now, but I want to be an excellent one.


– OMMA and Wireline technician, North Cairns