Declan Johnston is part of Team 55 - the first cohort of participants at Productivity Bootcamp's new Nowra facility, which opened on March 17.
The 20-year-old Burrill Lake resident and other Productivity Bootcamp are now looking forward to an important date.
On Friday, May 14, the 14 pre-apprentices aged between 16 and 24 will graduate from a special bootcamp developed by training and apprentice hire group Productivity Force and its business partner, Productivity Bootcamp.
They are members of 'Team 55' and are the first graduates of the newest training facility at Nowra, which was officially launched by the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on February 23 and it opened on March 17.
Declan has made the most of his Productivity Bootcamp opportunity.
Since completing year 12 in 2018, Declan had found it challenging to find a career he liked.
"I thought I was going to do computer science. I went to college and studied IT but got halfway through and decided it wasn't for me. I then tried some other courses at TAFE, but they weren't for me either," Declan said.
It was while he was between jobs [he'd previously worked at McDonald's Ulladulla] and courses, or as Declan says, "in limbo", that a family friend suggested doing the Productivity Bootcamp.
"I thought I'd try it and pretty quickly realised it was quite a good thing. I'm finding the Bootcamp to be a very enjoyable experience. It's been worthwhile," he said.
While Declan has tried a variety of trades at the Bootcamp, he wants to do an electrical apprenticeship when he graduates.
"I was leaning towards electrical at the start and now I'm leaning towards it even more now. Talking to (instructor) Matt, who is an electrician, about what you can do as an electrician really helped push me towards it," he said.
When asked what he likes the most about the Bootcamp, Declan says the all-hands-on approach when it comes to learning.
"And carpentry was also pretty fun, plus when we built a chair, and some of the team-building exercises were fun, like building a bridge to hold a certain weight," he added
The Productivity Bootcampers are taught by instructors who are all qualified and experienced tradespeople.
Declan says he appreciates their honesty and enjoys hearing about their past experiences and what it's like to work on sites.
"They're all pretty good. They don't try to sugar-coat anything - they let you know how it is," he said.
"They also let you know about the industry and what happens. "They don't just tell you what to do in a certain trade, but other things like how to get started and what to watch out for - stuff they had to deal with in the past that they are passing on to us.
"You feel like you're getting the right information."
And there's one more takeaway from the Bootcamp for Declan: "Something I've learned at Bootcamp is that practice does make perfect," he said.