Meet Our Field Coordinators

Helping you on your career journey in the building and construction industry

Our Born to Build Field Coordinators

Introducing our Born to Build Field Coordinators Amanda Hewer and Chris Blowes. Amanda and Chris have both completed trade apprenticeships and have a number of years’ experience working in the building and construction industry. Amanda and Chris are available to visit your school, sporting club or organisation to discuss and present with your audience about the range of jobs available in the building and construction industry. To arrange a time for Amanda and Chris to visit you, contact us today.

Amanda Hewer

My career in building and construction began with a simple conversation with a friend in Darwin when I was 22 years old, travelling Australia and lacking direction on which university degree to begin. She simply said, “I’m thinking of learning a trade”. This blew my mind, because for the first time I realised that becoming a tradie was a real possibility for me, and university wasn’t the only successful pathway after school, as I had been encouraged to believe during high school.

I did some research into the many different trades in the industry, and soon found a passion for telecommunications. I began my apprenticeship and have never looked back. I later found out that my grandfather and great grandfather worked in the same industry in the UK well before I was born, and that my great grandfather Stephen Henry Hewison received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his heroic efforts in keeping communication lines open for British troops during the Second World War!

During my 18 years in construction I have gained experience installing data, security and fire cabling and equipment in residential properties; commercial sites (including the new RAH in Adelaide, other hospital upgrades in Darwin and Hobart, the construction of hotels, shopping complexes, schools, banks, airports and in remote communities); conducting telecommunications audits at a RAAF base, and even installing fire cabling and devices on boats and ships in Hobart.

I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to work in the industry, and to all the people who supported me along the way and I feel lucky to be part of the Born to Build program to give other young South Australians the chance to explore the diverse career opportunities the building and construction industry has to offer.

Chris Blowes

In 2007, I embarked on my journey in the building and construction industry. During my school years, I found a passion for hands-on subjects such as tech studies. This led me to make the decision to leave school early at the age of 17 and pursue my apprenticeship as a carpenter. A Master Builders graduate myself, I now have more than 15 years’ experience in the building and construction industry.

I am living proof that with the right mindset anything is possible. Attacked by a shark in 2015, whilst surfing near Port Lincoln , I was left as an above knee amputee and my future on the tools looked doubtful. I wasn’t going to let my new found disability prevent me from working on the tools and continued to work as a carpenter in the residential building industry. During this time I have had extensive experience in all forms of residential carpentry ranging from home improvements, house extensions to high end new homes.

I consider it a privilege to continue contributing to the building and construction industry, but in a different capacity, by inspiring a new generation of individuals to explore careers within this field. This industry has provided me with a tremendous sense of purpose throughout my fifteen-year journey, and I look forward to continuing this work with the Born to Build program.

Success Stories

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Scott Salisbury

From an early age, Scott Salisbury had the drive and determination to follow in his father’s footsteps. Scott was 17 when he started his apprenticeship with his Dad, as a carpenter. Through his apprenticeship and working alongside his father, he was taught critical work ethics and invaluable workmanship, attention to detail, innovative thinking and skills that has remained with Scott throughout his extensive career — "do it right the first time".

By the age of 30, Scott achieved his dream of obtaining his own builder’s license, which marked the beginning of Scott Salisbury Homes. Now, Scott’s philosophy is what lies behind the walls is essential to building a strong foundation of a home, something he learnt from his apprenticeship. By mastering these foundational skills, Scott has now established four distinct brands across the Scott Salisbury Group and continues to be the most trusted, experienced and recognised builder in South Australia.

Scott is an inspiring advocate for the power of apprenticeships, having charted a successful career pathway of his own, through leveraging this opportunity. He is a firm believer in the Born to Build program and other apprenticeship programs for the younger generations, to propel them to have successful careers and the skills and experience building companies require. Builders with a qualified trade behind them in a fundamental asset to running a successful and knowledgeable building business. Scott is dedicated to creating further opportunities and shaping those ambitious individuals towards positive futures for individual trades people as well as supporting the future of our building industry.

Scott Salisbury

Managing Director – Scott Salisbury Homes
Kristina Shepherd

My name is Kristina Shepherd and I’m currently a Project Manager/Designer at Thorne Constructions. After graduating from Adelaide University with an Architecture degree I started out with minor drafting, and now oversee multiple aspects of our projects including design, tender, project co-ordination, client relationships, admin and much more!

Now after 5+ years I have already achieved more than I thought possible, notably being a 2021 HiViz award finalist as well as now 2 successful D&C clubroom projects with Football SA.

I love the collaborative, problem solving nature of the construction industry and am really passionate about the built environment and how it shapes our everyday lives.

Kristina Shepherd

Project Manager/ Architect – Thorne Construction
Richard Hough

I have over 30 years experience in the construction Industry, I started my career by undertaking an Apprenticeship as a Cabinet maker and joiner at age 16. Taking on a trade gave me the opportunity to work on some significant commercial projects throughout Adelaide and interstate.

Through experiences gained from working on Commercial projects installing commercial joinery and shop fitting I was able to gain an appreciation for the construction process, this inspired me to pursue a career as a Commercial Construction supervisor.

I undertook further studies to obtain my cert iv in Building and construction and progressed from there taking on roles in Supervision and then Project Management. I now work as an Operations Manager for a large commercial construction company, using my knowledge and experience I provide professional client interface, relationship management and construction support across large scale commercial projects from tender through to project completion.

I have an ambition to create a greater skilled workforce within our industry and I am working with other like minded individuals and organisations to develop a suite of training resources to assist in the training and development of our staff and sub-contractors to support our future industry leaders and provide greater career pathways and opportunities within the Construction Industry.

Richard Hough

Operations Manager – Sarah Construction
Isabella Carubia

My journey into horticulture began as a child when I would help my dad and Nonno plant vegetables in the garden. With my father being a horticulturist and owning his own business, I was always getting my hands dirty. However, my initial career path began in the corporate sector after I completed Year 12 where I worked as a manager for a large company. Feeling like I had reached my maximum potential for growth in the role, I decided it was time for a career change and my dad suggested giving a career in horticulture a go.

I was offered a job through a recruitment agency in an Arboriculture team and would also help my dad with his gardening business to improve my horticulture skills.

Now, I am working full time as an Arboriculturist for a local government council which I love. Being the only female in my team is fun and my team is very supportive of me. I am currently the only female in South Australia’s local government doing my job. I’m passionate about inspiring other young girls to get into a male dominated industry.

Isabella Carubia

Adrian Chenoweth

My journey into construction started back in 1999. After bouncing around trying to find something that appealed to me a family friend mentioned an apprenticeship. The opportunity I had was a bricklaying apprenticeship. Something I had no idea about and whether I would even like it. Once I begun I realised pretty quick the opportunities in front of me. I completed a great 4 years with no regrets and a fantastic host/boss. I was lucky enough to work on a lot of different fronts from New Housing, Extensions and Renovations, Heritage Buildings and Landscaping walling. The skills and people met through those 4 yrs was incredible. I thoroughly enjoyed my apprenticeship. Six months after completion I started my own business. This ran for 17 years in which I learned how to run a small business, I developed my skills and learned new things everyday. I also employed 8 apprentices over that time. One of those was my brother, he later became my partner. After 12yrs together we both decided to look at other options. He went into the MFS and I decided to expand my knowledge and career staying in construction.

Earlier I mentioned not having UNI as an option. Having an apprenticeship gives so many opportunities that align with uni degrees. I studied while running a business a Cert 4 in construction management. Using this study and qualification I applied for a supervisor role with Sarah Construction. I have now been at Sarah’s since 2018. I have had the chance to work on projects from small fit outs to multi million dollar projects. In my new role at Sarah I am lucky enough to see all trades and learning from them is amazing. I could not recommend exploring an apprenticeship highly enough. The earning while learning is very manageable and from there the doorways that construction opens are endless.

Adrian Chenoweth

Qualified Building Supervisor, Sarah Constructions
Matt-Zubrinich-Plumbify Transparent

I found that school wasn’t for me and I would struggle to focus in class. I was unsure what I wanted to do with my future and what career path I wanted to take. Luckily for me, my mum got me in touch with a school counsellor who discussed the opportunity to undertake work experience with an experienced plumber which led me to undertake a plumbing apprenticeship.

I completed my apprenticeship with three different companies where I was really lucky to get a taste of almost every aspect of the plumbing trade. From maintenance to new homes to large construction.

Now at the age of 35, I have been fortunate to operate my own business for 10 years. We have nearly 20 staff, and the business has grown really strongly over the last 3 years. The plumbing trade has given me so many opportunities to work in interesting and remote places and I have been lucky enough to meet some of my best mates through the plumbing trade.

One of the best parts about working in the construction industry and learning a trade, is you get so much vast experience in how to build and you can use these skills to complete personal building and reno projects which is very rewarding.

I would love to see more kids who are not sure what they want to do after school to consider taking up a trade as I owe everything I have to that one opportunity I got to do work experience in plumbing!

Matt Zubrinich

Qualified Plumber and Business Owner, Plumbify
Litsa Adamou

Having always had a passion for the building and construction industry and with both my parents working as tradespeople, it seemed fitting that I would end up working in the building and construction industry. However, following my time at University my initial career path commenced as a public servant but I felt I was not professionally fulfilled and by chance, I took a day off work and went to work with my husband doing building inspections. This was the day my life changed and I had found my true passion.

I went back to study and got my Certificate IV in Building and Construction and Certificate IV in Project Management. From there, I went and got my general builder's licence and commenced with House Inspect Australia. I am proud to say I am the first female building inspector in South Australia. I feel honoured to encourage more young girls and women to enter the construction industry by sharing some of my experiences and successes. It is a rewarding industry with so much room for personal and professional growth with so many different options for those looking to have a successful career in building and construction.

Litsa Adamou

Building Inspector
Luke Cooney (Imperium Constructions)

Working in the building industry was always something I wanted to get into after finishing school. I excelled in Tech subjects at school and was always working on small DIY projects at home.

After finishing school, I started Construction Management at University and quickly realised it wasn’t for me.

After second semester I left University to start the Prevoc TAFE course in carpentry and joinery. At 21 I finished the Prevoc course. I networked around to find a carpentry apprenticeship and started working for a custom residential builder doing extensions and new builds.

I finished trade school in the 3rd year of my apprenticeship and started the Contractors License Course. By the time I finished the 4 year apprenticeship, I had my Contractors License and had started the Cert 4 in Construction Management and Building where I ultimately obtained my builders license.

I resigned from my job to start contracting as a carpenter for other builders while taking on small private residential renovations.

I soon connected with my business partner James Cawthorne and have now been in business for 8 years. We have completed dozens of projects ranging from $500k renovations, extensions and new homes to $2.5m projects and multi res developments.

Moving away from the University path, into an apprenticeship and obtaining my builders license was the best thing I have done. Earning money from the early days meant I could buy my first home at a young age and was able to use the skills I learnt to renovate and flip it as my first project.

Luke Cooney

Director, Imperium Constructions
Cody Allen

I’d always wanted to work in the construction industry. I started doing work experience sweeping floors when I was 17. The boss asked me if I wanted a job and he put me on as an apprentice electrician working on standby diesel generators - I got to work in every state of the country installing and repairing generators in defence, mining, agriculture, banking, health – and anywhere else where they couldn't afford to lose power! I stayed with the same company for a decade forging friendships with my colleagues I still have today. Then I jumped on board with my dad’s company – he’s a guru – and now my brother and I are doing it as a family, spending time together and getting paid for it.

The best thing about being a tradie is it allows you to be your own boss and run your own show. It gives you the freedom to choose what kind of work you want to do. I love it, I'm as passionate about it as the day I started and I’d recommend it to anyone!

Cody Allen

AllenCo Construction
Lainie Thomson

My name is Lainie Thomson, I am a fourth year carpentry apprentice. I decided to join the construction industry and commence an apprenticeship after High school. I knew that I was interested in how carpenters could build something from a plan and their prior knowledge. I also thought carpentry looked like a really satisfying job and something that I wouldn’t lose interest in quickly (still haven’t).

I am currently working at Bishop Building who are a general builder in Kapunda. My range of work and skills learnt is very wide. I get to do things from marking a job out at the very start, following the steps of construction all the way through to doing the second fix and final fit off as the build nears completion. It is a very rewarding experience.

Throughout my apprenticeship, I have been fortunate to have won several awards, including 2022 Apprentice of the Year, which has been a great achievement and reflection of the effort I have put in to my apprenticeship training.

In the close future I plan on finishing my apprenticeship and continuing as a qualified tradesperson while learning supervisory skills and eventually moving to a supervisors/managing role, potentially furthering my study in this direction as well.

Lainie Thomson

Fourth Year Carpentry Apprentice