LONG HAUL: Electrical apprentice Jaleel Donald, 17, is proud he's found a career he loves.
LONG HAUL: Electrical apprentice Jaleel Donald, 17, is proud he's found a career he loves. Tegan Annett

'Lucky ones': Teen proud to find life-long career

ELECTRICAL apprentice Jaleel Donald considers himself lucky a 17-year-old, having found a career path he wants to keep for the long haul.

The second-year Gladstone Area Group Apprentices Limited apprentice knew when he was in Year 8 that he wanted to be an electrician.

"In high school I was helping my cousin out, he has a refrigeration trade and I was giving him a hand with some electrical jobs, and I just got hooked on it," he said.

Enjoying the challenge, problem solving and variety of work, Jaleel said he hoped to create a lifelong career out of his apprenticeship.

He has been hosted by Corfields Electrical for about two month .

But one day the former Toolooa State High School student hopes to gain a second trade in refrigeration.

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The passionate aspiring electrician Jaleel hopes to be part of the 64% of Queensland's apprentices who complete their apprenticeship.

A new report from Construction Skills Queensland revealed the completion rate this week, which is almost equal to the 67% who complete a Bachelor-level university degree within six years.

With his parents working at NRG Power Station and Gladstone Ports Corporation, Jaleel said he had picked the right path.

"I would say that I was one of the lucky ones because I found a job early," he said.

"People graduating, or looking for jobs, it'll come, you just have to work hard."

CSQ chief executive Brett Schimming said if the current completion rates and commencement volume remained steady, Queensland would have enough qualified apprentices to meet the demands of the industry.

"With just under 24,000 construction apprentices in Queensland, there is a strong number of new tradespeople entering the workforce to meet the needs of Queensland's construction industry for the foreseeable future," Mr Schimming said.

"A continued emphasis on how well the industry attracts, retains and develops its apprentices will ensure we have a strong intake of apprentices."

Interestingly, the report found of the 25,000 construction apprentices who started in 2015-16, less than half are the conventional image as young school-leavers, with 53 per cent aged 20-or-over when they began their apprenticeship.

The report also shows apprentices are mostly employed in the residential sector, with this sector accounting for more than half of the apprentice intake in 2015-16.

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"Previously there was a period of high apprentice employment in engineering construction. Currently we've recorded a spike in residential work and this continues to increase," he said.

"Carpenters, electricians and plumbers account for two thirds of our apprentices and we predict this trend is here to stay as the distribution of construction apprentice intake by sector is strongly skewed to residential.

"It is essential to Queensland's construction industry to keep updated on this shifting terrain in order to be better equipped for ongoing changes and provide greater support to our network of apprentices."

Tegan Annett



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