AFTER over six years in the army, Dwayne House was sick of spending eight to 10 months away from family.
Looking for a new career, he turned to a trade and applied for an apprenticeship with BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA).
Dwayne admits he was anxious about the early stage testing, applying to enter the program as a mature-age apprentice.
After a lengthy four to six month wait, with several interview and testing steps, Dwayne got an early Christmas present.
He was one of 42 Central Queenslanders to receive an offer to start an apprenticeship in the new year.
Dwayne will base himself at Blackwater during the week while he works as an electrical apprentice, but said that time away from his wife and extended family was still nothing compared to the army.
Mining appealed to Dwayne because of the amount of expertise concentrated in the mines.
"It's just a really great industry to be part of,” he said.
"When you're doing a trade you want to learn from the best.
"I've always been interested in being an electrician, so to be able to follow that as a career close to home is a perfect fit for me.”
BMA Asset President, Rag Udd, said the number of apprenticeships being offered in Central Queensland has more than doubled in recent years.
"We want our workforce to reflect the communities in which we operate, so it's pleasing to again be able to build on that with our diverse apprenticeship intake next year,” he said.
"We see these apprentices as the future of our business and for us to continue being an important part of the Central Queensland community, we need to support it.”
Offers are being made to applicants from across the region including 16 people from Moranbah, seven from the Greater Mackay area, seven from Blackwater, seven from Dysart and a further five from throughout Central Queensland including Dwayne in Gracemere.
The new cohort will embark on apprenticeships across a range of trades and includes electricians, mechanics, diesel fitters, auto-electricians and boilermakers.
Dwayne was thrilled to receive a letter from BMA, offering him a position working at Blackwater Mine as an electrical apprentice.
Mature age apprentices have already received their offers to join BMA, with the bulk of applicants for the annual intake to be sent letters this week after completing their final year of schooling last Friday.
Apprentices from across the region will gather in Moranbah for an induction and formal welcome to the organisation in January.