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Wade McEwan, a 2009 graduate of the Midwest Clontarf Academy was featured in a recent edition of the Koori Mail newspaper.  Wade has moved to Victoria to pursue a plumbing apprenticeship.

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WHETHER he’s up on a roof fixing drains, digging a ditch to lay pipe, or installing a hot water service, Wade McEwan, of Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, knows that each job is taking him one step further to becoming a fully qualified plumber, and another closer to home.

And while his four-year apprenticeship with the Plumbing Trades Employees Union in Melbourne, Victoria, still has another year to run, Mr McEwan has just picked up an award that shows he’s well on track.

Now in the third year of his apprenticeship, he was recently named the Master Plumbers Association’s Indigenous Apprentice for 2012, as part of the association’s 105th Gold Medal and Training Awards.

The award proves his decision to move to Melbourne, after doing work experience as a plumber in Year 12, was the right one.
“Everyone told me it was a good trade to get into,” Mr McEwan told the Koori Mail after picking up his award.

“I enjoy learning all the skills and getting out and meeting a lot of people. I move around doing commercial work, or I’m in the ground doing drains, roofing … there’s a whole lot of different jobs to tackle.

“At the moment I’m at school.”

Most enjoying hot water services and drainage work, Mr McEwan reckons that plumbing is a skill for life.

He also wants to encourage other young Indigenous people to consider it as a possible career.

When he finishes his apprenticeship and gains his journeyman certificate, Mr McEwan plans to return to Port Hedland with his fiancee, to teach his family and friends the plumbing trade.

Two other young Indigenous people also received a boost from the Master Plumbers Association.

Liam Cunningham and Leah-Jane Hewitt each won the association’s Sir Rohan Delacombe Educational Award for 2012, which aims to assist young Koorie students moving to higher education, or completing secondary school.

Cooke and Delacombe sponsored their award, while PBA Safety and the Peter Pratt Family sponsored the award won by Mr McEwan.

Victoria’s Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Janette Powell, was at the ceremony to assist with presenting the awards.