ORANGE builder, business owner and board member Michael Banks said he chose not to go to university and it was the best decision he ever made.
Mr Banks finished year 12 in 1993 and had planned to study civil engineering at university but then thought “bugger that”.
He enrolled in a pre-apprenticeship course and scored an apprenticeship a few months later, and became a builder.
He worked his way up through the ranks and in 2002 he started his own business.
Mr Banks’ advice for former Higher School Certificate students who do not receive the university offer they want is not to panic, there are plenty of opportunities out there for anyone who wants them enough.
“I had more opportunities by getting a trade. It enabled me to start my own business and my young family can grow up in Orange with the same opportunities that I had,” he said.
Mr Banks runs Banksia Building and is the president of the Central West Master Builder Association.
“There’s work, employment, jobs for anyone who is willing to give it a go,” he said.
For anyone who finds it hard to score a job straight away, Mr Banks says to enrol in TAFE and start a short course that will help you achieve your end goal.
People who have some kind of training behind them look better to employers than those who do not, he said.
“I get calls from guys all the time straight out of school asking for jobs. Go out, get your resume, drive around and meet people, harass them, show you are keen,” Mr Banks said.
“Show employers you have something to offer them. It’s all about how you approach people.”
Mr Banks built his business up with no formal education in business management.
He said he surrounded himself with good, trustworthy professionals in finance, accounting and law, and started small.
“We grew slowly at a rate we could handle,” he said.
But he warned young people off going into the mining industry as a quick fix, because of the lifestyle surrounding the mines.
He said mining had long hours and the divorce rate was high, whereas with a trade you could set yourself up to own your own business, even if it was a one -an operation.
Main round university offers are released at 9am on Thursday.
“Uni isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” Mr Banks said.