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When Matilda Kelly started the school year in 2023, she wasn’t sure what her future career looked like.

She knew further study in a school-like setting wasn’t for her, so she turned her mind to a trade pathway.

“I knew I didn’t want to go to university, but I still wanted to look into something that was well paying and would bring me job security,” Matilda said.

With this in mind, Matilda undertook Year 10 work experience last year at two local businesses, Watters and Bonnett’s Electrical.

“I really loved my time with Bonnett’s and started to think an electrical trade was what I wanted to do,” Matilda said.

“So I also did some work experience later in the year with Watters, to get a different experience but also to make sure this was what I was going to set my mind to.”

Fast forward to 2024 and Matilda is now a semester in to a School-Based Apprenticeship and Traineeship (SBAT) with Bonnett’s. This program is offered through Head Start to support students to complete an apprenticeship or traineeship alongside their senior secondary education.

“It’s a great opportunity if you’re wanting to take a trade pathway because essentially, you have your first year under your belt once you complete school,” Matilda said.

Currently the Year 11 student attends her apprenticeship one day a week and already has received some great hands-on learning opportunities and experience.

“Everyone there has been really supportive, and I’ve learnt a lot already,” Matilda said.

Although a traditionally male-dominated industry, Matilda said this and being the youngest employee hasn’t discouraged her.

“Everyone has been great and they’re all encouraging and reminding me that I’ve got years across my apprenticeship to learn everything I need to know,” she said.

In addition to her part-time job at a Shepparton fast food outlet, Matilda said there were many advantages to joining the workforce early.

“I think being in the workforce you get that hands-on learning and experience that you can’t really get from studying alone,” she said.

“I’ve learnt a lot of life skills as well as the trade, such as resilience and persistence.

Matilda encouraged anyone looking into a trade to reach out to the GSSC Careers Team to discuss their options.

“I didn’t even know what an SBAT was until I reached out to Ms Boyko for some advice and she really supported me with this pathway and all of the coordination,” Matilda said.

“I think the other thing you can’t underestimate is work experience – it can really help you make your decision if you’re unsure because sometimes you don’t really know until you give it a go.”

KELLY Matilda Photo Cert3Electrotech