A Bomen factory has been flooded with job applications in response to an article in The Daily Advertiser, which revealed a Wagga-wide shortage of apprentices even during lockdown.
Truck Art owner Terry Gibbs said he faced a constant battle to get young people into his factory, but has already managed to hire one apprentice and one panel beater off the back of the article.
One of them was 17-year-old Ryley Kingwill, who is making his first foray into the workforce as an apprentice spray painter while also studying at TAFE.
Mr Kingwill said he was learning more at his job than he ever did in his classes, and that he was enjoying his time so far as a spray painter.
"I always thought it'd be pretty cool and pretty helpful, and I like cars," Mr Kingwill said.
"I don't really have any plans [for the future] so far. I'm going to see where this goes first."
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Mr Gibbs, who started his own career as a 15-year-old spray painter, said finding motivated young workers like Mr Kingwill was a rare feat in this day and age.
"One apprentice makes a difference, it really does," Mr Gibbs said.
"You'd think it would be easy to get young people but it's definitely not."
Mr Gibbs said coronavirus had shown just how essential the trades were to the economy, with Wagga's trucking, agriculture, and manufacturing businesses continuing to do roaring trades throughout lockdown.
Mr Gibbs said these sectors had jobs vacancies everywhere and not enough workers to fill them, and that young people who did pick up a trade would be guaranteed a good job for life.