TasTAFE apprentice wins inaugural metals scholarship

MIDWAY Point apprentice Jesse Dent has won a $500 scholarship which honours two stalwarts of Tasmania’s metals industry.

Mr Dent is one of three apprentices statewide to win the RH Purden and NP Saunders Metal Industry Tasmania Scholarship.

The inaugural scholarships honour Robert Purden, owner of Purden Engineers Pty Ltd, who passed away in 2007, and Nick Saunders who is chairman of Saunders and Ward Pty Ltd.

They recognise TasTAFE apprentices studying a Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade and Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade.

Mr Dent said he was thrilled to win the scholarship.

“I’m really interested in this industry, for both a work and personal level, so it’s great to have an acknowledgement of the effort I have put into this area,” he said.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity that’s been provided by this scholarship.

“It’s nice to be recognised as one of the three best apprentices in the state.”

Mr Dent said he always had a personal interest in the metals industry.

“My grandfather was a boilermaker and my uncle is a metals teacher so I have grown up with an interest in the area,” he said.

“I really enjoy pulling things apart and putting them back together again.

“I was interested in that all through high school and college, so the next step was to get a job doing it.”

After completing his Certificate II Metals course, Mr Dent was able to go straight into an apprenticeship.

He is employed at Weatherfoil through host employer NECA and is doing his Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade at TasTAFE’s Bender Drive campus in Derwent Park.

“The training at TasTAFE has also been really good,” Mr Dent said.

“Everyone has been really supportive and a lot of my training so far has been self-paced, which has been great.”

He is also putting the skills he’s gaining in his work and training to good use in his spare time with the restoration of a HX panel van.

“After I got my licence I bought a project car and I’ve been restoring it for the past nine months,” Mr Dent said.

“When I finish it I’ll probably buy another one – I really enjoy it and it’s great to be able to work the metals side in with it too.”

Mr Dent sees plenty of opportunities in the metals industry in his future.

“I’d love to own my own workshop one day, as I’d like to have the freedom to do what I like doing,” he said.

“There are some really talented, artistic people who I follow online who are working in metals and putting their name out there that way, as well as working in general fabrication, and that’s something I’d like to do too.”

Caption: RH Purden and NP Saunders Metal Industry Tasmania scholarship winner Jesse Dent.