Anthony Di Cristofaro – WA Apprentice of the Year

Directions’ WA Training Award winning Apprentice of the Year is still a little in shock after receiving his award at the gala ceremony last Friday.

When asked about how he feels after winning the Apprentice of the Year Award at this year’s WA Training Awards, Anthony simply started with ‘it’s huge’.

“It’s right up there, right behind my wedding and the birth of my kids. It’s recognition of everything I put into my apprenticeship, and an amazing way to finish it.”

Since completing his apprenticeship Anthony has taken a break from construction work and used his highly transferrable skills to take up an opportunity in the fire protection services sector.

“Thanks to my apprenticeship and the award, I have been able to choose the job I want to do. I now have options. I am continuing to learn, which is great, and the transition from apprentice to tradesperson has been good.”

“After school I went to university. Apprenticeships weren’t something I considered. It wasn’t even considered an option for me. But then I realised university wasn’t for me, and I went to work in the mining sector before becoming an adult apprentice.”

Anthony was undertaking a carpentry apprenticeship through a former group training company and registered training organisation that was on the verge of closure.

“When things went wrong with my apprenticeship, I had a real sense of worry. I thought my apprenticeship might fall through.”

Anthony elected to transfer his apprenticeship to Directions who offered to take him, along with 20 other apprentices on board to ensure they could complete. It was quickly discovered that his off the job training had not been scheduled properly and that with only 6 months left of his apprenticeship to complete, Anthony still had 9 full time weeks of TAFE studies outstanding.

“I had thought I was being looked after but it was soon clear I had been mismanaged, and as a mature aged apprentice, I was worried. There aren’t too many people who’d be willing to take me on. With nine weeks to complete and you still need to keep work happy.”

“I know there was a big risk involved in Directions taking me on and I am very grateful. What Directions did especially with North Metro TAFE to sort it all out got me over the line. The support was really great.”

Anthony agrees that an apprenticeship is a great start to your career journey.

“It doesn’t mean you have to stay on the tools. It can take you elsewhere.”

Anthony was praised throughout the WA Training Awards process and on the job for, among other things, being a peer mentor to many of the younger apprentices. When asked how he came to assume this role, he modestly shrugs.

“Maybe it’s because I am a dad. A lot of them are going through stuff that if I was there age, I would be struggling with. As a 30 year old, I had the life experience, so I couldn’t not help them out where I could.”

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