Employer follows apprentice's lead

ANDREW Passmore proudly sat back and watched his award-winning apprentice gain recognition for his skill and dedication.

Now, the Townsend businessman has been recognised as well.

Mr Passmore owns Passmore Auto Air and Electrical.

His mature-aged apprentice, Jamie Bradley, won mature-age apprentice for the Northern Rivers region in 2010 and was nominated again this year.

Following on from his apprentice's success, Mr Passmore has now been nominated as host employer of the year for the Northern Rivers region.

A humble Mr Passmore played down the signifi- cance of his nomination but said he was pleased to be able to play his part in training the next genera- tion of trades people.

He said there was a shortage of skills in the area which wasn't helped by less emphasis being placed on trade training these days.

"A lot of the trades went out of the schools about 10 years ago," Mr Passmore said.

"Where I came from they closed all the trade schools down; there was no woodwork and no sheet-metal work any more.

"That's what killed it all; the government took it all out of the schools."

Mr Passmore said a higher importance on trade training needed to be re-introduced into schools to meet the demand for quali- fied tradespeople.

"I remember when we used to do all that sort of stuff at school," he said.

"They gave you a bit of an idea and a bit of knowledge of what the trade was like.

"They don't seem to have it any more; it's all about computers - the hands-on stuff isn't there any more.

"Just giving them work experience isn't the same as teaching them how to do things."

The presentation of host employer of the year awards will be held in Ballina on November 4.

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