Three WIns for Bellingen TAFE Trades Apprentice

Trades apprentice Mr Craig Barry is up for his fourth award at TAFE NSW.


GUMBAYNGGIRR man Craig Barry from Bellingen has almost completed his cabinet-making apprenticeship through TAFE, is in full employment, and has gained multiple awards and accolades.

As well as receiving a Hunter TAFE Foundation scholarship in 2018, Mr Barry has recently won three awards in the regional TAFE NSW Excellence Awards and is a finalist in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year category at the North Coast Training Awards to be presented on June 11.

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“I have always been interested in making and building things with my hands,” said Mr Barry.

“However, I never believed I could become a tradesperson, because my whole life I have been told I would not achieve anything.”

Mr Barry was working as a labourer at Infracraft Detailed Joinery in Toormina where he met TAFE NSW teacher Cameron Hainsworth, who was conducting workplace assessments of the apprentices at Infracraft.

Mr Hainsworth said he saw that Craig had potential and encouraged him to do an apprenticeship, but Craig always laughed it off saying “as if they would ever put me on”.

After a discussion between Cameron Hainsworth and the employer, Craig was offered an apprenticeship.

“Craig has become a real asset to his employer and shows great leadership qualities,” said Mr Hainsworth.

“Cameron was the first teacher who actually believed in me,” said Mr Barry.

“I will be forever grateful to him – most of all for giving me the confidence and support to successfully complete the Cabinet Making trade course and achieve the dream I always had of becoming a tradesperson.”

Mr Barry told News of The Area, “I have thanked the teacher that many times.

“He is an awesome TAFE teacher and he was at my awards ceremonies.

“It’s a really good achievement and I get signed off on June 22 as a qualified cabinet maker,” he said.

“I love the work mainly because I have been able to show family members who are coming through the ranks how to do the job.

“I have always been hands-on with bikes and so on but getting into timber was a whole new ball game for me.”

The timber work Mr Barry is doing includes building cabinets and fit outs made in Coffs, which are often sent off to Sydney.


By Sandra MOON

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