Tao Lim is an advocate for the trade, the group training scheme and his journey from apprenticeship to qualified plumber.
Tao Lim has a knack for problem solving and an eye for detail. As a young teenager, he also had a passion for woodwork, which led him to consider becoming a cabinet maker.
As Tao came closer to completing his time at secondary school, he decided he wanted to get a licenced trade and turned to plumbing.
“I felt I wanted to be part of a trade that is regulated,” he told API. “I knew that once I was licenced no one could take my career away from me.”
Tao enrolled in trade school at Swinburne and soon realised he was a standout in his class.
“I was the only Asian in the classroom. Luckily, I am accustomed to multiculturalism. In Malaysia I had an Indian neighbour on one side and a Chinese neighbour on the other. It really isn’t a big issue for me.”
While working through his apprenticeship Tao heard about Master Plumbers’ Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria and was quick to sign up. He was paired up with a domestic plumber, which he said was the perfect match for his first year and a half.
“Domestic was a good start for me. It gave me a good foundation, good work ethic and I became quite quick because you are always on the go.”
“I will never regret it. If someone was looking to become an apprentice, I would certainly tell them to do it the way I did. Domestic really teaches you how to problem solve by yourself and how to approach a job to get it done well.”
When Tao decided he was interested in commercial, Master Plumbers paired him with Geshcke and he had to learn another set of skills.
“Commercial is a different ball game all together. It’s a bigger scale, we are doing hospitals and schools. I had to remember back to the trade school theory I had learnt and put them into action.”
Tao has worked on some very large and important new Victorian builds including the Post Entry Quarantine (PEQ) facility on a Commonwealth owned site in Mickleham. The PEQ facility consolidates all of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources facilities into a single site to process the importation of bees, cats, dogs, horses and plants.
“These sorts of projects are great. They are complex and there is no margin for error. Luckily, you have five or six plumbers around you and if you get stuck they are happy to help you.”
He has also worked at hospitals where he had to install Georg Fischer Piping Systems. I’ve never done it before, it was new for me. The first day I had to make a jig at home so it will help me be neater and better. It worked well.
“I try to (be particular) with my work. Our company likes nice work. If the company appreciates it you will do that. But if a company is a bit rough I guess you might care less. I am lucky to be with Geshcke. The quality they produced is amazing.”
Tao finished his time with Master Plumbers in July when he completed his apprenticeship but that was not the end of his relationship with Geshcke. Gareth Dickson (pictured), has appointed him full time.
Geshcke employs about 90 plumbers and has up to seven Master Plumbers’ apprentices at any one time. Tao says the Master Plumbers Group Training Scheme is a wonderful way for apprentices to get skills across the plumbing sector – domestic and commercial. He advocates for other apprentices to speak with Master Plumbers about their careers.
“I love plumbing, every day is different, you learn through everything you do. I still get jobs today that really challenge me so I am constantly motivated. I also get to work with a great group of guys.”
So what about cabinetry?
“Furniture making is my hobby, I do it at home but plumbing is my career.”
To become an employee of Master Plumbers, visit plumber.com.au or call (03) 9329 9622. To become a host employer, call (03) 9321 0721.