Meeting a housing shortage with houses that Jack builds

Published: 30 April 2024
Author: Skills and Employment

A carpentry apprenticeship and trade papers from the Victorian Government are helping Jack Kelsey to build houses and achieve his goals.

In January 2024, Jack Kelsey received his official trade papers, stating that he has completed his apprenticeship as a carpenter.

The Victorian Government reached its own milestone at the same time, having issued 30,000 trade papers since they were reintroduced in Victoria in 2019.

Since school, Jack wanted to be a carpenter. He enjoyed woodwork, and studying the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Building and Construction course in Year 10 helped him realise that he wanted a job building houses.

‘This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time,’ he said.

‘There are too many people out there without a house to live in, or people that need help with maintenance because things are going wrong in their homes.’

‘I feel like it’s very important for there to be more carpenters.’

Jack wanted a qualification but didn’t want to go to university. For him, an apprenticeship and studying through TAFE was the obvious choice.

‘I just thought that the best thing for me was to get into an apprenticeship to do carpentry. I didn’t want to go to uni after school and I didn’t want to have a HECS-HELP debt,’ he said.

‘And obviously with an apprenticeship you get paid while you train. Perfect.’

His four-year apprenticeship involved a four-day block of study every six weeks at Chisholm Institute of TAFE. The rest of his time was spent on site through a Housing Industry of Australia (HIA) Apprenticeship program with his host employer Jake Built, a contractor for Henley Homes.

Throughout his apprenticeship, he adapted to learning through trial and error in different situations.

‘When you’re first starting out, you’re going to get things wrong, but you improve as you go.’

‘I feel like it’s a good job, I like it. There are a lot of pros and not many cons. I’d say the only con is the weather!’

‘When you look back on your work and see it once it’s built, that’s a pretty amazing feeling.’

Trade papers are a certificate awarded by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority to those who successfully complete their formal training through an apprenticeship. Employers and customers can trust that people who have trade papers have the right skills and experience.

Before trade papers were reintroduced in 2019, Victorians who completed their apprenticeship just received a certificate from their registered training organisation. Trade papers provide Victorian Government proof of apprenticeship completion, making it easier for an apprentice to find work.

Jack values his trade papers and says they’re something to be proud of. Now that he is qualified, he can start making plans for his future.

‘I’m saving, and learning as much as I can on the job, because I want to start my own business – start out on my own and do my own thing.’

‘This is something I’m going to be in for a long time, all my life, so it’s very important to me that I’m doing something I want to do.’

Find out more about becoming an apprentice at