Hard work is paying off for Park Ridge State High School graduate Dylan Cramp, who has just landed full time employment after being named last year’s school based apprentice of the year.

The 2020 TAFE Queensland School Based Apprentice of the Year recipient has built upon that success, gaining full time employment at Mendham Engineering where he did his school-based apprenticeship.

His path to a school-based apprenticeship started back in 2019 when he realised there were no vacancies in the engineering subjects he wanted to do at school.

“I did maths and english, furnishings, industrial graphics, couldn’t get into an engineering class because those classes were full, so I started a cert two in engineering at TAFE,” he says.

“When I came to Mendham, I noticed they did a lot of engine work and machining work, so it fell in the middle of mechanic and machining, so that caught my attention.”

From left to right: Wayne Mendham, Dylan Cramp, and Darren Mendham

But Mr Cramp’s situation is not that of an average student, as Park Ridge State High School’s Education Transition Officer Wendy Howard points out.

“Having moved from Stanthorpe with his grandparents in year 10, within 12 months he had carried out work experience leading to a school based apprenticeship with Mendham Engineering,” says Ms Howard, whose role is to help students transition to pathways outside of school.

“The reason he and his grandparents moved to Brisbane was that his Grandma needed a life saving lung transplant.”

While managing his school and apprenticeship commitments, Mr Cramp also periodically returned to Stanthorpe to help his uncle run his grandfather’s farm.

“My grandparents mean the world to me,” he says.

“They’ve looked after me since I was 11, helped and supported me through high school, and in 2017 my Nan got emphysema and my Pop and I had to look after her up until October this year when she received a lung transplant.”

That family-first attitude is one the the attributes that Mendham Engineering were most impressed by, according to their Workshop Manager Ron Heilbronn.

“Dylan was quite mature for his age and showed a real passion for his grandparents, so that came across, so he was unique in that way,” says Mr Heilbronn.

“We realised he is a very committed, hard working young man.”

Mr Heilbronn also noted Mr Cramp’s high levels of initiative.

“Any time that the school had holidays, he would ask to work full time – he wanted to be here,” Mr Heilbronn says.

Having won school based apprentice of the year, Mr Cramp is now in the running for full time apprentice of the year.

Park Ridge State High School students interested in following a similar path to Mr Cramp can do so by contacting their Education Transition Officer.

Other pathways range from plumbing, to electrical, to hairdressing, among others.

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