Program provides apprentices with essential life skills

07 June 2024

“When you wake up in the morning, you either wake up with a smile on your face or a frown. Everything comes down to attitude and how you perceive things, and mental health and wellbeing is a big part of that.”

These words of apprentice powerline worker Naomi Eccleston echo the sentiment of her Essential Energy colleagues taking part in the Life Skills program which provides apprentices with the skills to navigate work, financial, family, and friend-related stresses effectively.

The Life Skills program gets to the core of issues not commonly taught during an apprenticeship, such as financial wellbeing, giving and receiving feedback, and mental health and wellbeing.

Essential Energy has partnered with Tradies InSight, a mental health and wellbeing organisation supporting tradies in regional NSW, to deliver the program across its organisation.

Tradies InSight founder, Bruno Efoti says many apprentices are school leavers who need guidance for making sound life decisions.

“I am passionate about creating safe spaces to learn new skills in dealing with the modern pressures tradespeople are under. We don’t do feelings well in Australia and it’s well past time that changed,” Bruno says.

“We developed a five-point checklist that helps people look after their mental health better so by the end of it, we really hope participants are more confident and competent in being able to look after their mental health.”

Naomi is a mature-age apprentice powerline worker from Yass who completed the program with Kane Doull, an apprentice powerline worker at Moruya who began his apprenticeship after leaving school.

Naomi says the program reinforces the issues facing apprentices in any trade.

“Being able to talk about our mental health or our finances all just links in with our day-to-day learnings of our apprenticeship, so I jumped at the opportunity to do it,” she says.

As a younger apprentice, Kane says the program provides resources on avoiding the pitfalls some young people fall into early in their careers.

“I’m fresh out of school so this program is really valuable,” Kane explains.

“The financial learnings are huge for me and a few of the other younger guys coming through because it makes you realise there’s a few hazards you want to avoid.

“The mental health aspect is also really important to reinforce things that a lot more young people are comfortable talking about these days, and that filters through to some of the older apprentices that there’s always someone to talk to if you’ve got a problem.”

The Life Skills program is being delivered to all Essential Energy apprentices until 1 July. Essential Energy’s apprenticeship program is currently accepting applications until 23 June, find out more about the program here.

Naomi at LifeSkills program in Goulburn

Essential Energy mature-age apprentice Naomi Eccleston, from Yass, at the LifeSkills training program in Goulburn.