By Luke Voogt
Kristy Nardella was just a few months into her joinery apprenticeship when she lost her job due to COVID-19 work shortages in March.
“My mental health went quite down,” the 27-year-old from St Alban Park said.
“People were telling me it was hard enough to get an apprenticeship in the first place as a woman, as well as being an adult.
“When I started ringing around, nobody wanted to put on anyone new because of COVID.
“It got to the point after six weeks where I thought I would have to give up on the dream of being a cabinet maker and start to think of what else I could do. It was pretty devastating.”
But Kristy registered for state government’s retrenched apprentice program and was able to continue training while receiving support to find another employer.
“With the incredible help of Charlie from Westvic [Staffing Solutions], who went above and beyond to help me find another workplace, I was able to recommence,” she said.
“They set me up with an interview and I want from there on my own.”
Kristy resumed her apprenticeship with JPH Joinery in June.
“I love the new workplace, the boss is really nice and doesn’t treat me any differently because I’m a female, which is awesome,” she said.
She welcomed a recent state government announcement of $900,000 to extend the Retrenched Apprentices and Trainee Program, run through the Apprenticeship Employment Network, until June 2021.
“If [apprentices have] lost their job for stuff that’s not their fault, to be able to placed somewhere else is huge,” she said.