TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA) hosts students from across the globe, each with their own unique stories. Lorenzo’s journey is just one among many who have found their passion, employment and home after beginning their studies at TIWA.
Lorenzo Werk’s parents were refugees from Rwanda, immigrating to the German capital of Berlin in 1998. It was there that Lorenzo went to school and grew up. His first job after high school was as a marine officer working on a variety of commercial boats and navy vessels.
Lorenzo visited Perth Western Australia on a working visa in 2019, and stayed with family. While here, he worked for a variety of companies in trade assistance and loved the mix of a busy city culture and natural coastal beauty.
As Lorenzo’s visa approached its expiry in early 2020, he realised he wanted to stay in Perth. After assessing and discussing his options, he discovered that a course in automotive technology at South Metropolitan TAFE’s Carlisle campus was the best way to both stay in Perth and pursue the work he enjoys most.
Lorenzo tells us that he was attracted to the AUR50216 Diploma of Automotive Technology because of his desire to have a practical career where he worked with his hands.
“My previous work experience has been around working in shop yards, steel work and welding. I have operated machinery on heavy lift vessels and been responsible for assisting in the handling and securing of heavy cargo.” he says.
“I knew I wanted to continue a career that involved working with machinery and using my skills to repair engines. My background has meant that I am already confident when working in the workshops at TAFE. This is great, as the workshops make up a big part of what we do at TAFE. It is a very practical course.”
Lorenzo tells us that the course has been a mix of mechanical and electrical work, with both theory and practical components.
“Our lecturers are great because they try to make sure we spend a lot of time in the workshop applying our knowledge, even when the semester is busy.” he says. “This is important because practice is the best way to learn the theory and be ready for employment. You cannot just learn from books, otherwise you won’t know what to do when you get the job.”
Life since TAFE
“I finished my studies in December 2021” says Lorenzo, “but by that time, I had already been working for six months in a workshop in Maddington – a suburb of Perth.”
Lorenzo stopped work at the Maddington workshop in March 2022 and has since taken up a role with Linkforce, a company that delivers engineering and maintenance services to industrial and mining sites.
Lorenzo has been working as a ‘fly in, fly out’ (FIFO) employee with Linkforce. He explains to us that for the foreseeable future, this is the job he thinks he will stay in. “This works well for me, I am paid well and enjoy the work,” Lorenzo explains. “It is good living this way to help save money while I am young, single and without kids.
“The mining industry is good – it is interesting, dynamic and I work with people from around the world. Day to day, I see the impact of my work and the outcome of my efforts.”
We asked Lorenzo what advice he would give to somebody interested in moving to Perth Western Australia, or studying at TAFE.
“I definitely recommend Perth.” he says. “There isn’t the stress of living in a big city like Melbourne or Sydney. There are loads of smaller suburbs with small companies that are always looking for skilled tradespeople. Plus, the nature, hikes and beach are beautiful. It is very different from my life in Berlin.”
Lorenzo recommends taking the time to enjoy the city between your studies and work.
“When completing my course, I tried to work a lot. Sometimes I had no time to look around, travel and see areas like Margaret River(opens in a new tab).” he says. “I would tell new students to make time to enjoy Western Australia– it doesn’t need to be all about studying and working. WA is a very nice place to be.”
If you’re interested in finding out more, you can contact TIWA for advice(opens in a new tab) on how to navigate your study and career journey.