An apprenticeship with the City of Gold Coast is bringing Sandy Austin one step closer to her dream of one day working on snowcats in Aspen, Colorado.

After 20 years in the hospitality industry, Sandy decided to change her career. She met with her local apprenticeship provider, BUSY At Work and worked with the team to define where her skills lay. The team at BUSY then recommended her for a Heavy Commercial Vehicle apprenticeship with the City of Gold Coast.

After a one day trial and practical interview, Sandy was awarded the apprenticeship opportunity as she displayed foresight to think through safety issues and was meticulous to the processes required for the job on offer.

In addition, Sandy was an excellent candidate and matched the City’s Inclusion and Diversity Plan 2018 – 2020 initiatives for diversifying the workforce. This includes increasing the number of indigenous persons and females in non-traditional roles.

Sandy now works at the main Carrara Depot workshop and says she can clearly see the advantages of gaining the apprenticeship with the City that will one day fulfil her lifelong passion to work on the fully tracked truck-size vehicles in the snow.

“I realise that we don’t have snow on the Gold Coast but I’m so very happy to have found this new career option. I have found working at the City of Gold Coast interesting because of the variety of equipment I’ve had the opportunity to work on - including trucks, plant, cars, and auto electrical equipment.”

Workplace Diversity

Sandy, who commenced her first year apprenticeship in July this year, is one of eight apprentices, three of whom are women, under the watchful eye of Carrara Workshop Supervisor, Gavin Wheatley.

“Sandy’s work day starts at 6:30 with a pre-start safety meeting, which alerts staff to any relevant work safety issues for the day. She is then buddied up with a qualified tradesperson to learn how to use general tools and specialised service tools to maintain and repair the City’s vehicles,” says Mr Wheatley.

The City’s fleet employs around 200 staff to manage and maintain over 6700 assets in the three depots across the Gold Coast region. The Carrara depot also has workshops for panel and paint, radio repairs, auto-electrical, fabrication and fitting and turning. The workshops expose apprentices to a wide range of other trades and in their fourth year they’re encouraged to join the 24/7 breakdown service team.

Award Winning Training

The City and TAFE Queensland Gold Coast have a long standing relationship when it comes to providing quality training for their apprentices. TAFE Queensland provides practical, hands-on skills while students complete theory one day a week for the respective qualification.

Both the City and TAFE Queensland have been winners at this year’s regional and state finals of the Queensland Training Awards. The City of Gold Coast was the only local council to become a finalist, and then in turn, win the Large Employer of the Year category at the SE Queensland Regional event. The City was measured on the extent and range of training they provide to all staff.

TAFE Queensland received the 2018 Large Training Provider of the Year award for the fourth year in a row for delivering quality training that changes lives.

“A commitment to demonstrate the true value of quality vocational education and training to our local community is by partnering with business. This enables their staff to be effectively trained to accomplish goals and be the best they can be in their jobs,” said Karen Dickinson, General Manager of TAFE Queensland Gold Coast.

For more information about an apprenticeship in Heavy Commercial Automotive or to enrol call 1300 308 233 or visit



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