Trading uni studies for tools

May 27, 2024 BY

Career switch: Caleb Smith recently made a transition from being a third-year psychology student to becoming a pre-apprentice in building and construction.

TWENTY-three-year-old Caleb Smith recently made an intriguing transition from being a third-year psychology student to pursuing a pre-apprenticeship in building and construction.

Following the recommendation of his past careers adviser from high school, Caleb is now discovering his true dream of becoming a carpenter.

In his own words, Caleb reflected on his decision to completely switch up his career pathway and focus to hands-on work.

“I was under the assumption that being a chippy was an easy option and to get a real job you needed to go to uni,” he said.

At The Gordon, teachers have a hands on and supportive approach.


“I studied psychology for three years and found out that it wasn’t for me.

“I decided to change paths completely to pursue something I’ve always known, which is working with my hands.”

The allure of practical learning captured Caleb the most.

He praised his teachers at The Gordon, highlighting their supportive nature, hands-on approach and industry connections.

“The teachers are very hands-on, they listen and relate to you,” he said.

“You can ask them any question. They are very resourceful and connected to the industry.”

Throughout the pre-apprenticeship course, students are introduced to the fundamentals of construction, learning everything about building a house, from the ground up to erecting walls.

Carpentry teacher, Adam Games, outlined the many benefits students can unlock from taking on pre-apprenticeship studies at The Gordon.

“The 4-month course is all about learning basic hands-on carpentry skills and boosting your confidence in the trade,” he said.

“It’s great for anyone who wants to pick up handy skills for home projects or pathway into a career as a carpentry apprentice.

“Plus, by teaching what employers are looking for, this course sets students up with the confidence to step straight into the workforce.”

Caleb commended the diversity of outcomes from his vocational training where skills are transferrable and can be immediately applied to real-life scenarios.

“I’ve really enjoyed learning with other people who are like me, both older and younger,” he said.

“Anyone can learn the skills to work on their own home, or for an apprenticeship in carpentry.

“We have a few people who have come onto this course just to learn how to fix up their own houses.”

Caleb’s aspirations extend far beyond completing the pre-apprenticeship.

He plans to seamlessly transition into a carpentry apprenticeship, with a long-term vision of specialising in building escape rooms.

“One day, I plan to build an escape room, which is basically a massive puzzle of several parts in a house or building,” Caleb said.

Looking to change up your career? Start studying building and construction this July.

Applications are now open for mid-year enrolments. Visit thegordon.edu.au.