Six committed young people from Hobart were signed-up as the first building apprentices with the Catholic Church’s building and construction social enterprise, St Joseph Affordable Homes on 8 December.

The six apprentices were selected from Centacare Evolve Housing’s youth employment and life skills coaching program Build Up Tassie. They have completed pre-apprenticeship training in building and construction (including involvement in the building of nine new social housing units at New Norfolk), life skills coaching and have been involved in a range of industry work experience and community projects since July this year.

“It is with enormous pride that we announce this group of six young apprentices who have shown so much commitment to their own futures throughout their involvement in our youth employment and life skills coaching program,” said St Joseph Affordable Homes CEO, Ben Wilson.

“We are looking forward to working alongside them as employed members of our team and supporting them to reach their goals, while assisting many other Tasmanians reach their goal of secure accommodation and home ownership.”

The apprentices, comprising five young men and a 16-year old woman, will receive training in the carpentry, plumbing, bricklaying and painting trades.

Premier Peter Gutwein presented certificates to the appren

tices, and Minister for Human Services Roger Jaensch presented each apprentice with a specially-designed coin depicting St Joseph.

“Today was a fantastic day…seeing nine properties now being finished and handed over and importantly that are going to house Tasmanians that are needing a roof over their heads,” said the premier.

“Not only are we building homes for people that need rooves over their heads, but we are providing futures for young Tasmanians as well. It’s a fantastic outcome and I want to commend St Joseph Affordable Homes for the work that they do in this space.”

16-year old carpentry apprentice Cianna wants to become an advocate for young women who aspire to make positive life choices. “I encourage other young tradie ladies to give it a go … I’ve had so many people encourage me more because I’m female. “From deep down in my heart I really that think women should play a big part in this [carpentry] … Just do it – get out there, give it all you’ve got, be the best you!”

The signing of the apprentices coincided with the official opening of nine brand new social housing units: the first built by St Joseph Affordable Homes since its establishment in June this year.

Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Hobart, Fr Shammi Perera, blessed both the apprentices and the new homes.

The social and affordable home building programs of CatholicCare Tasmania and its joint venture partner Centacare Evolve Housing provide the building projects for St Joseph Affordable Homes. A key outcome of St Joseph Affordable Homes is to facilitate regular intakes of building apprentices to support the construction of more than 100 affordable homes in Tasmania by June 2021.

St Joseph Affordable Homes currently has 60 houses under construction throughout Tasmania. The social enterprise has engaged 35 Tasmanian industry partners.

New apprentices (L-R): Connor, Ryan, Dylan, Lukas, Kwot, and Cianna at the opening of nine new social housing units in New Norfolk.