Erub mechanic and tradesperson, Jacob Gutchen has successfully completed his Certificate 3 in Diesel Fitting. Jacob worked with Torres Strait Island Regional Council before Remote Fleet Management took him on to service TSIRC fleet across our islands. In the recent Torres News interview Jacob commented, “It’s been a long journey. One of the advantages of training in a remote area is you have to learn to improvise and do everything” Remote Fleet Management said that Jacob has not only been servicing and repairing everything from cars, trucks and earthmoving machinery, he is also up to date on computer diagnosis for late model vehicles and communicates and coordinates with other stakeholders so that work can be efficiently carried out in community.
Jacob was presented with his Certificate III on Kirriri by Mayor Gela and Cr Sabatino. Mayor Gela stated "This has been an important step in our capacity building in the region." "When TSIRC first started there were many apprentices in the region, but at that early stage we lacked the capacity to keep them..." "We improved this by putting it out to tender and a professional private contractor stepping in, now as a result we have quality tradesmen. "Cr. Sabatino said "This skills transfer is critical to get trades back to the region, hopefully we will be able to foster a few more like Jacob."
Jacob’s mother is a well-known Erub artist, Florence Gutchen, most known for her innovative ghost net weaving creations and is a current finalist for the prestigious Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Arts Awards. Florence tells Strait Talk “when I was young I missed out on an education, I didn’t finish school, so I didn’t want my kids to miss out too. Jacob’s father, Kapua asked him to go to TAFE as there are few opportunities for our kids here”
“Now he is a professional tradesperson, I’m really proud. When we received his Certificate I burst into tears. Our Torres Strait nation needs more skilled people to come and work here, we need more employment for our people.”
“At some point I’d love Jacob to come home to his community, but Jacob now needs to make a decision about where he is going to go on this next part of his journey.”
Remote Fleet Management wishes Jacob well on whatever career path he chooses and hope to continue to work with Jacob well into the future. We expect he will go a long way in his chosen trade, “he is an inspiration to others and leads by example.” Remote Fleet Management also set up a bank account for Jacob donating their $1,500 Australian Government Apprenticeships Incentive to get him started.
The co-operation between Remote Fleet Management, My Pathway, Torres Strait Island Regional Council and private contractors in providing a pathway to employment for people like Jacob is what it will take for our apprentices to be adequately supported and receive high quality training if we are to train people from our region.