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Apprentice of the year urges trade take-up -

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Apprentice of the year urges trade take-up

AM - Friday, 17 November , 2006 08:16:00

Reporter: Josie Taylor

TONY EASTLEY: A young man who chose not to go down the university path was last night crowned
Australia's Apprentice of the Year.

At 22, fourth year apprentice electrician, Kevin Baker from Victoria runs his own business and
holds down a job.

And he's urging more young people to take up a trade.

He spoke to AM's Josie Taylor by telephone soon after receiving his award in Adelaide.

KEVIN BAKER: I started off working in a computer shop and worked up from there to running my own
business doing IT while I was still at school and then what I found was that it wasn't challenging
enough. I got to the point where I wasn't feeling a challenge doing it anymore.

And after talking pretty long and hard with my mum and dad who have always been a great mentor,
they sort of said to me, what about doing a trade apprenticeship? And I looked into it and I ended
up applying for and getting an apprenticeship with Holden.

JOSIE TAYLOR: Was it the hands-on aspect of going into a trade that inspired you?

KEVIN BAKER: Primarily it was the challenge. I'm a person who, I love having a challenge. I love
being able to see a problem and overcome it.

JOSIE TAYLOR: So when did you leave high school?

KEVIN BAKER: I left high school after I completed my VCE.

JOSIE TAYLOR: A Labor politician recently brought up the idea of making Year 12 compulsory. What do
you think about that idea?

KEVIN BAKER: It's got good aspects and bad aspects. The best way for someone who's looking at
leaving high school is to instead pursue one of the new Australian technical colleges who are going
to be opening up.

JOSIE TAYLOR: And what was your experience of actually completing the apprenticeship like?

KEVIN BAKER: It's not like it's a job to me, it's almost fun. I get to go out there and play with
big boy's toys and get paid to do it. And I'm just really loving the opportunity to be able to now
share this with the rest of the community and be able to go out there and tell people that you
know, university isn't the only pathway.

TONY EASTLEY: Fourth year apprentice electrician and Apprentice of the Year, Kevin Baker from
Victoria speaking there with Josie Taylor.