The building industry is, of course, the one closest to Scott’s heart: ‘If we don’t work now on tomorrow’s tradespeople being available, we will fall way short as a country economically. We need cranes in the sky, and workers building homes to secure our future.’
Scott believes there are numerous benefits to be gained from pursuing a skilled trade as a career pathway.
‘We need to spread the word that with a career in a trade you can make a quid, keep fit, not to mention the fact that today’s first-year apprentice could be running his own business in four or five years’ time,’ he says. ‘That’s pretty powerful.’
Drawing on his own personal account as an apprentice host and mentor, there was so much more to the task than just teaching the right skills in Scott’s eyes.
‘I’ve had 5 apprentices and I always felt my role was a moral one. Sure, I would give them work skills, but I would also give them guidance about living their life,’ he says. ‘I took it very seriously. It was about showing them the way to conduct yourself in public, amongst peers, clients, [and maintaining a strong] work ethic.
‘My apprentices would turn up at my home, see me with my wife and my kids, and get a sense of who I am, as a boss but also as a person ‘I wanted to be part of making young people, great adults.’
Specifically on the subject of young workers, Scott believes they get a bad rap. ‘In my experience laziness is just bad training,’ he says. ‘I was there with my apprentices for the long run, some for as long as 12 years. If all I did in the first six months was get mad and rouse on them, then they wouldn’t work hard for me. I needed to have faith in them and have them trust me.’
It obviously worked, as in the years following he has proudly been present at his apprentices’ twenty-first birthdays, then their engagements, weddings and now onto christenings and kids’ birthday parties.
‘My first apprentice now has three kids, is an amazing team leader, husband and father,’ Scott says, adding they still catch up for beers and backyard barbeques whenever they can.
As for now, he has a busy year ahead of him, balancing his media commitments, his work for the National Careers Institute, continuing his role as the HIA Ambassador and of course, turning Frankie into the perfect pet and working dog ally.
For more information on becoming an apprentice, or an apprentice host, you can reach out to the Housing Industry Association (HIA) at www.hia.com.au/products-services/apprentices