A young mechanic has told how signing up for an apprenticeship via his school has led to a great job servicing trucks for the Country Fire Authority – and they’ve even helped him to get his medium rigid truck licence.
Stephen Puglisi from Swan Hill in Victoria has always had an interest in trucks, with a farming background and experience helping to fix vehicles and machinery from a young age.
He had the opportunity to do several stints of school-based work experience and also finished a Certificate II in Automotive Preparation at SuniTAFE, Swan Hill.
He wasn’t sure what to do next, until at the end of year 11, a teacher asked him if he was interested in an apprenticeship with a local firm that serviced trucks.
“I wasn’t told I’d be working for CFA,” he said.
“In fact, when I was 16 years old, I didn’t realise that CFA employed mechanics.”
Puglisi began his four-year CFA apprenticeship in May 2019, spending a day a week in the workshop.
Thanks to having already completed the Certificate II, he was able to skip some of his training.
He has since completed a Certificate III Qualified Heavy Vehicle Mechanical Technology, and has now started a one-year contract at the Swan Hill District Mechanical Officer workshop.
“CFA has looked after me really well,” he said.
“It’s a friendly environment and I’ve had the opportunity to talk to volunteers and work on a range of trucks, Toyota LandCruisers and Nissan Patrols.”
CFA also helped Puglisi to get his medium rigid truck licence.
“The workshop manager, Gav, asked me if I wanted to drive a truck.
“It’s handy to be able to move the trucks we work on.”
Puglisi is enjoying his time at CFA, but he realises that his desire to stay in the Swan Hill area may limit his opportunities with them.
“I grew up in this area and my family lives here and I don’t want to move away for work,” he explained.
“I’d be sad if I had to leave CFA, but who knows what might happen in the future? I may get a permanent position with CFA.”
Puglisi enjoys the atmosphere at CFA so much that he recently joined his local brigade, Beverford and District, as a volunteer, along with his brother.
“We both plan on doing the General Firefighter course and being operational members,” he added.