Qualification: Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
Host Business: Lasse Electrical and AJF Electrical | Current Employer: Nilsen NT
RTO: Charles Darwin University
"Whenever the opportunity arises, I share my experience and talk about the benefits of learning on the job, gaining real world experience, and earning money at the same time. If I could go back and tell 15-year-old Jack this, I might have been qualified a lot sooner!"
Jack Higgins was unsure of his career path after finishing school, but in order to keep his options open, he decided to apply for Shell's Prelude to the Future program 5 and was thrilled to be accepted. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘗𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘶𝘥𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘍𝘶𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘗𝘳𝘰𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘮 𝘪𝘴 𝘫𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘧𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘗𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘶𝘥𝘦 𝘍𝘓𝘕𝘎, 𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 Shell, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘕𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘯 𝘛𝘦𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺 𝘎𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵’𝘴 Industry Northern Territory and Charles Darwin University.
During the program, Jack gained experience in electrical, and diesel fitting and discovered his passion for the trade industry. Upon completing the program, he decided to pursue a Certificate III in Electrotechnology.
He has learned valuable life lessons and believes that "learning a trade is like building a house – it takes time and focus to achieve something extraordinary."
As the winner of the Austin Asche Apprentice of the Year at the recent NT Training Awards, Jack will be representing the Northern Territory at the Australian Training Awards in November.
What impact did your studies/work have on your life?
When I finished school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. But the opportunity to join Shell's Prelude to the future dual trade program came up, which let me check out two trades - electrical fitting and diesel fitting. I was stoked to have this chance, it helped me get a better sense of what I'm good at and where I want to go in my future. Once completing the Prelude to the Future program, I decided to give an electrical apprenticeship a shot.
I started with Lasse Electrical in 2019, and over my three years there, I picked up a lot of the skills I have now. Sadly, COVID-19 hit them hard, so I had to look for another place to finish my apprenticeship. Luckily, I found a spot with Allen at AJF Electrical. While this was a challenge at first, upon reflection, I realise it was probably the best thing to happen out of my apprenticeship as it gave me experience within two different businesses, and the chance to work under different tradesmen, allowing me to learn different methods and ways in which to undertake my work.
I picked Electrotechnology mainly to push myself, but it turns out I have a passion for it that I never knew was there. The world is changing so much, and it feels good to know that I'm in a career path that is in line with the global goal of achieving net-zero emissions.
While I was learning my trade, I was able to learn from tradesmen who own their own small businesses. They taught me the importance of being a good leader, holding myself accountable, having a better attitude, communicating well, managing my time, and just being reliable. I know that I have been able to bring that work ethic into their workplaces and inspire our new apprentice to adopt similar qualities. I’m also proud to be able to demonstrate these qualities now to my younger siblings who, as teenagers need me as a role model now more than ever.
It used to stress me out just thinking about what I wanted to do with my life, but finding my path has made me so much more confident and positive about my future. I’ve finally completed my capstone and can now call myself a qualified Electrician, which, looking back, I would have never thought would happen when I was in high school.
As a qualified tradie, I know it is now my responsibility to guide and mentor younger people in the industry. This means taking the time to teach them new skills, giving them feedback on their work, and supporting them when they make mistakes. I was given that kind of support throughout my apprenticeship and I know that in order to positively influence others coming up through the industry, I need to afford them the same respect. I also believe in being inclusive and encouraging others to share their opinions and ideas, as this can lead to more innovative solutions and better outcomes for the team as a whole. I hope to have my own business one day where I can foster that kind of culture and give apprentices the same support and respect, I was given.
I once thought doing an apprenticeship instead of going to uni made you “dumb”, but now, I am a strong advocate for promoting the value of apprenticeships to others. Whenever the opportunity arises, I share my experience and talk about the benefits of learning on the job, gaining real world experience, and earning money at the same time. If I could go back and tell 15-year-old Jack this, I might have been qualified a lot sooner!