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What our apprentices have to say

Find out what some of our apprentices have gained from the HIA Apprentices program.

The HIA apprentice program has successfully placed thousands of apprentices into rewarding and challenging apprenticeship roles. Here are just some of our HIA apprenticeship success stories.


Thomas Payton – 2019 HIA Jim Brookes Australian Apprentice of the Year

NSW apprentice Thomas Payton knows how to build on constructive criticism, one of the key attributes that helped him win the 2019 HIA Jim Brookes Australian Apprentice of the Year.

Host employer Jacob Pullan of JMP Building says Thomas’ habit of openly seeking assistance and building upon the advice offered to him is a rare quality. He adds that the skills Thomas displays are often years above his level of training and that his combination of a positive attitude and a strong work ethic have helped inspire similar behaviour in his colleagues.   

The fourth-year carpentry apprentice has worked on a variety of residential carpentry jobs with JMP Building and has recently expanded into commercial building projects.

“I’ve really enjoyed the teamwork involved with working with the other trades to get these builds completed in such a short time,” Thomas says. “I've learnt a lot in my time as an apprentice. There's always something new and I try to learn as much as I can.”

Thomas says he hopes to complete his Certificate IV in Building and Construction later in the year.


Adam Cocks – HIA National Apprentice of the Year Winner

Part of a new breed of builder who can adapt to a rapidly changing industry, Adam has shown he has a thirst for knowledge and the drive to continually develop his skills.

A mature age apprentice, Adam graduated in industrial design and then started an apprenticeship with small high-end contractor David Edkins. 

The extra maturity Adam brought to the role has been an asset. 

“It gives them a bit more strength and character and they know what they want to do,” David says.

Adam brought a designer’s eye for detail and precision to his work as a carpenter in the Adelaide building industry. He completed a six-month pre-vocational course at TAFE before approaching David, a friend of his father.

“Adam was approachable and a good communicator and presents really well,” David recalls. “He had some skills, but really it was a combination of his attitude and the person he was.”

Adam says he struck it lucky with Dave. “His type of building is much more like the old-school style,” he says. “There’s really nothing we don’t do. It’s a lot to learn, but at the same time it’s pretty cool.”

Adam’s success is gratifying for a small business, David says. “It’s really nice that Adam was noticed and throughout the HIA training program they monitored him fairly well. He’s the second apprentice I’ve used through the HIA program and the other apprentice is still with me after 12 years.” 

Sam Booth – Carpentry apprenticeship

Sam completed Year 12 and knew that carpentry would satisfy his passion for building things.

Even when I was young I used to work with family friends who were builders – and I’ve always wanted to end up owning my own business,” he says. “It just seemed the natural thing to become a carpenter.


Sam worked for the same host employer during his apprenticeship and still subcontracts to him as a qualified tradesman. 

Sam has given talks to Year 10 groups about starting a trade career and says doing his training through HIA was great: “They were always there as back-up and with someone to talk to if you needed it.”

As for the future, he’s considering striking out on his own, or in partnership with younger brother Darren, who is in the third year of a carpentry apprenticeship with HIA.

“I studied in my own time during my apprenticeship and got the additional qualifications necessary for registration as a builder in my own right,” he says. “But right now I’m developing my trade skills, learning more about the building industry and getting used to taking on more responsibility.

“I guess my ultimate aim is to head up a fairly big company – I certainly like the idea of being my own boss.”

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Become a HIA apprentice


Your future career starts with us.

Take the opportunity to gain real-life skills across various trades in the residential construction industry.

Find out where we can take you.

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