Maxima’s Flexible School-Based Apprenticeship Program gets a green thumbs up from Elise

Maxima Horticulture Apprentice with the City of Tea Tree Gully, Elise could not imagine her life behind a desk.

“I can’t think of anything worse, how can you be upset working outside? I feel like it releases so much serotonin.”

Beginning her apprenticeship under Maxima’s Flexible School-Based Apprenticeship Program at age 17, Elise knew her move into a “full adult work environment” while still maintaining touch with her high school commitments, was the right move for her.

The program is a collaborative effort between Maxima, The Department for Education and Local Government, aiming to lift the profile of School-Based Apprenticeships.

As part of the program structure, over each fortnight period, Elise attended work at the City of Tea Tree Gully for seven days, trade school for two days – with trade school units equating to SACE credits – and received a single Rostered Day Off, during which she would attend high school to stay connected and complete required classes to gain relevant SACE credits.

It was this path with less emphasis on the high school environment that appealed to Elise and her preference for a non-classroom-based learning style.

“I wanted to leave school, which is why I started this, but with the School-Based Apprenticeship I finished school pretty quickly.”

“I was never like ‘oh I love gardening’, I appreciate the look and I’ve always loved the outdoors. But my stepdad was a horticulturist, I basically thought ‘I’ll give that a go’, but I ended up really loving it!”

“I’ve recommended this to loads of people.”

“There are heaps more girls here now which is cool, considering it’s a male-dominated industry.”

Maxima Apprenticeship & Traineeship Consultant and Team Leader for Trades Sarah Tinkham said the program is an incredible opportunity to set participants apart from their peers in a paid role.

“Students who know what they want to do are able to get a head start on their career and are still eligible to graduate with their classmates.”

Now at age 21, having completed her apprenticeship and secured a full-time role with the City of Tea Tree Gully in the Parks and Gardens Horticulture crew, Elise admits the start of the transition was not totally smooth sailing.

“The first month [of the apprenticeship] I was really stressed; I had never worked in a full-time environment before.”

But with supportive networks around her including Maxima and the City of Tea Tree Gully, Elise is loving where she is.

“Sarah came to trade school a couple of times just to check in, we’ve had constant catch-ups at the depot as well and she helped get us uniforms at the start – if we ever need anything, she is all over it, I could not recommend her enough!”

“I love everything about this job – everyone has been really accommodating.”

Horticulture Team Leader at the City of Tea Tree Gully Simon Keller said Elise has slotted in seamlessly with the team and had grown professionally and personally during her four years with the city.

“She was extremely shy. But she’s done well with every team she went to, and she always got great feedback. Right through from her School-Based Apprenticeship until now – she has done really well,” Simon said.

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For more information on Maxima’s wide array of Apprenticeship & Traineeship programs including Flexible School-Based Apprenticeship pathways in horticulture, diesel mechanics, civil construction and outdoor power equipment – visit our information page below.

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