Joe Andrew Wate is no stranger to hard work and sacrifice. The Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) alumnus from the Solomon Islands successfully turned his passion for building and carpentry into a growing construction business.
Joe faced many financial constraints on his journey, including sacrificing his secondary education to allow his elder siblings to continue their studies.
After leaving school in 1999, Joe threw himself into community work to help build houses. With the minimal yet valuable skills he gained through his experience, he applied for a carpentry course at the Airahu Rural Training Centre in Malaita Province and graduated in 2002.
In the following years, Joe worked for various construction companies. Some of his most significant achievements were constructing the Selwyn College Girls’ Dormitory and eight water tanks in 2010, and a project with the Fletcher Company to build the Solomon Islands’ Ministry of Finance complex in 2013.
“Despite the financial problems, I worked hard to support my family. I paid my elder brother’s school fees from form five up to his tertiary education at the Solomon Islands National University,” Joe said.
In 2015, he applied to study for a Certificate III in Wall and Floor Tiling (CPC31311) with APTC in Suva, Fiji. On graduating the following year, Joe used his newfound skills and knowledge to become a professional builder and tiler.
In 2018, he established and registered his own business, WAJ Construction, specialising in building works, repairing, renovation, tiling, and billboard installations.
The company also recruits students from Rural Training Centres countrywide for practical and additional work experience for career pathways in technical and vocational education and training (TVET).
“I aim to influence young people to gain experience in my company and become highly successful examples of not only job seekers but job creators like me. The course at APTC prepared me for the next step in pursuing my dream,” Joe said.
For anyone considering taking up TVET courses or becoming an entrepreneur, Joe advises all things are possible with perseverance and commitment.
APTC is managed by TAFE Queensland (RTO 0275).