Greg Owen: Tatiara Truck and Trailers, Bordertown

Greg Owen’s successful employment journey began in May 2012 when key workers at his school helped to find him an opportunity with Tatiara Truck and Trailers in Bordertown. He began washing trailers for the local employer and his work ethic was rewarded with the offer of a trailer technician apprenticeship (due to complete in May 2016). In 2013 Greg won the ‘Overall Most Improved Automotive Apprentice’ at the South East Apprentice Awards held in Mount Gambier. The award is a huge achievement for Greg considering the number of apprentices he was competing against in the Limestone Coast region.

However it has not always been smooth sailing for this young Aboriginal lad from the Limestone Coast. Greg has experienced many ups and downs. He moved to Bordertown from Wolseley, but recently lost his provisional licence. He still manages to get to work each day and meet the requirements of his apprenticeship. Greg’s trade school blocks have been situated in the training room facility at his employment, meaning he does not need to travel to Adelaide.

The Department of State Development’s Aboriginal Apprenticeship Program along with the Commonwealth Government’s Australian Apprenticeship Mentoring Program have both played key roles in supporting Greg throughout his apprenticeship. The programs assisted Greg with Centrelink, opening a savings account, attaining his driver’s licence, support with tools, PPE and mentoring. Greg is grateful for this assistance and also credits his encouraging and supportive employer with his success. His advice to other young people is “if you want to be successful, you need to be persistent in what you want and you can never ask too many questions”. Greg’s dedication is reflected in his grades. He has achieved above 80% in all of his modules, with a 96% best, emphasising that learning does not stop once you finish school. Tatiara Truck and Trailers Administration Manager, Jaime Virgin said that “Greg has been completely committed to his apprenticeship, even though his attendance throughout schooling was very poor”. “Both the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Program and the Australian Apprenticeship Mentoring Program support have been instrumental in Greg’s employment, as he came to us with very little knowledge about general life skills, for example tax file number, superannuation and savings,” Ms Virgin said.

For information about Aboriginal support programs please contact the Skills and Employment Infoline 1800 506 266 or email WorkReady@sa.gov.au.

Note: Commonwealth Government’s Australian Apprenticeship Mentoring Program ceased in 2013.

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