Sparking hope: Apprentices appointed through social enterprise

By Veronika Cox

Iris Rimmer always wanted to be an electrician, and her graduation in December 2021 to an apprenticeship has turned her dream into reality.

“It is literally awesome. I couldn’t ask for anything else,” she said.

“I would just like to thank Build Up Tassie and St Joseph Affordable Homes… and everyone involved…  for the amazing opportunity. It is something that I have always wanted to do. It’s a great job.”

St Joseph Affordable Homes Executive Manager of business development, Belinda Clarke, said Iris was one of six new apprentices who had come through the Build Up Tassie program.

“This round we have a bricklayer, an electrician, carpenters and a tiler,” she said.

“Iris is becoming an electrician and she’ll work as a mechanical plumber with one of our partners – Parr’s Heat Pump and Refrigeration Centre.”

The general manager of Parr’s Heat Pump and Refrigeration Centre Andre Morrisby, said from a business perspective, it was invaluable to forge a partnership with Build Up Tassie and St Joseph Affordable Homes.

“It means so much to have someone that’s already halfway there,” he explained.

“They want to work, they want to commit. They want to continue their education. It’s really hard to find that without these programs. It makes it very efficient.”

Ms Clarke said in its first 18 months, the Church’s building and construction social enterprise had been able to appoint 17 apprentices.

“And that’s our foundational purposes for the social enterprise, building social and affordable houses, building in construction, and using that environment to appoint apprentices who don’t get the opportunity through normal pathways.”

Photo: Build Up Tassie first year apprentice Iris Rimmer (left) with industry partner Andre Morrisby, general manager of Parr’s Heat Pump and Refrigeration Centre. Photo by Mark Franklin

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