'Hard slog' pays off
THIRD-year apprentice Corey Maslen pulls no punches - it's a hard slog being a young apprentice.
Mr Maslen, 19, is close to completing his trade as a plasterer, but he can remember the early days working in the sun for $7.70 an hour.
Mr Maslen lived at home while completing his apprenticeship to ease the financial strain, but said many apprentices were forced to take up second jobs to make ends meet.
Despite the hard work, Mr Maslen believes having a trade can open up doors for young people looking for work.
"The money is pretty poor, but you have to pay money to go to uni," he said.
"I think it was good doing this apprenticeship. It's given me a lot of time to think and you're getting something behind you in the meantime."
Mr Maslen said he was now considering going to university or taking up another career, but being a qualified plasterer would give him a lot of options when looking for work.
Jackson Mahon started his new career as an apprentice boilermaker only two weeks ago.
Mr Mahon, 18, went to high school in Toowoomba, but has had to move away from Charleville to take up the trade.
Mr Mahon concedes it can be tough for young tradies, but refuses to see the negatives of being an apprentice.
"I've moved into a friend's house and I'm living with him. I'm not complaining, it's not that bad at all ... I'm managing my cash," Mr Mahon said.
"I really like what I'm doing."