Flying career no pipe dream
SECOND-year plumbing apprentice Aaron Stephens, from Warwick, is among just 75 apprentice plumbers from around Australia who have been selected for one of the Rheem Plumber Apprentice Grants.
The scheme was created by Rheem to celebrate its 75th anniversary this year.
Aaron is an impressive young man. He has a driving ambition to combine plumbing with flying helicopters.
Aaron's mum died recently and, since then, he has been both working on plumbing jobs with his dad and also handling a lot of the work in the office of the family business, which his mum previously looked after.
"Aaron is most deserving of this grant," his dad, Peter Stephens, said.
"It is just what Aaron needs at the moment to show him great things really do come to good, deserving people."
And Aaron says he feels a sense of achievement having won the grant.
"I know there was a significant number of people apply for the grant and to be chosen as one of the successful applicants really says something to me," he said.
Aaron plans to use the grant to gain his helicopter licence once he becomes qualified as a plumber.
"And that is precisely what I plan to do," Aaron said.
"My ultimate goal is to eventually own my own business as a plumber, but also be a helicopter pilot."
In five years time Aaron sees himself starting out building a business flying helicopters into rural, remote communities and properties where he will not only provide such aerial services as mustering, but also plumbing services on a fly-in fly-out basis.
"I realise this is a very large goal, but believe I can make it happen with a lot of dedication, hard work and saving.
"So every little bit of money I get I save and this grant will certainly help me get to where I want to be."
Aaron's career is going well. He is currently halfway through his fourth TAFE block with two weeks to go.
In January Aaron will progress to a third-year apprentice plumber.
"I have a very good working relationship with my employer, who is also my dad.
"We definitely have our ups and downs as we both live under the same roof and we also have similar personalities, which tend to clash sometimes, but always get the job done and I reckon we make a pretty good team.
"All in all, I am very happy and content with where I am and what I am doing."
The Rheem Apprentice Plumber Grants scheme was developed to assist apprentices and young people achieve their dreams and career objectives in the plumbing trade.
The competition attracted more than 300 entries from apprentice plumbers around Australia.