Yupungathi man Jason De Bosh’s desire to provide for his young family pushed the single father-of-three to start an apprenticeship in his 40s—and he hasn’t looked back.
“Four years ago, I was working as an unskilled laborer for a large mining company when I lost my job,” Mr De Bosch said.
“I had temporarily moved into a shack with no plumbing in Mapoon and I was just making ends meet on a pension.”
But the Queensland man wanted a better life for his children and when a training network came to town and he was offered a plumbing apprenticeship and training at TAFE Queensland he jumped at the chance.
But there were obstacles he had to overcome.
As a remotely-located apprentice with the Napranum Aboriginal Shire Council, Mr De Bosch travelled to Cairns for study.
“I arrived in Cairns and walked into a classroom that was full of computers, it wasn’t looking good,” he said.
“I knew nothing about computers, I tried to turn one on and I couldn’t do it.
“I was half packed up ready to go when my teacher stopped me — he could have just given up on me, but he didn’t.
“My teacher really did go above and beyond to make sure that I completed the course and not just completed it, but really loved it and came out of it highly-skilled.”
Mr De Bosch said quitting wouldn’t have set a good example for his children.
“I want my kids to see what it means to get an education and I want them to know what it is like to be a productive member of the community — they need to see me doing it if I expect that from them,” he said.
Mr De Bosch is now a qualified tradesman and lives in a four-bedroom home with his three children.
He is continuing his education doing further studies for a Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services and was the 2017 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year at the TAFE Queensland Cairns campus Trade Excellence Awards.
“I used to drive trucks and stuff, but it was boring,” he said.
“Now I love what I do, it is interesting and I’m always learning and most of all, I love being able to do work in and for my community,” he said.