When the COVID pandemic hit, 52-year-old travel consultant David Zaharopoulos found himself unemployed.
After 15 years in a corporate environment, David jumped on an opportunity with North Metropolitan TAFE as part of the Infrastructure Ready program, which has landed him a full-time job with CPB Contractors, working on METRONET’s Yanchep Rail Extension.
“Never in my life did I think I’d be building a train line!” he said.
The program teaches basic construction skills for newcomers into WA’s major transport infrastructure boom.
“On my first day of work experience with CPB Contractors when I was offered a traineeship.”
David, who has been in the workforce since age 15, said he struggled being unemployed and his mental health suffered.
“I was used to doing things and I was ready to step out of the unemployment rut and take on a new challenge,” he said.
“Changing careers has been amazing. I’ve lost 12 kilos! The physical health benefits of working outdoors have been huge but the mental health benefits of working on a significant project and the comradery of the job site are life changing.
“If you’re keen to learn and enthusiastic, everyone is willing to help and teach you. I’ve never felt stupid for asking questions.
“After years in an office, work is now good fun and if you put in the effort it’ll pay off.”
So far CPB Contractors have employed four Infrastructure Ready trainees on WA projects.