OneFortyOne’s mechanical apprentice shares his story

11 Mar 20

Our Stories

OneFortyOne’s mechanical apprentice shares his story: timber industry offers real career pathways

How did you decide your career path? Did you want to follow in your parent’s footsteps, or set your own career path?

For OneFortyOne’s Sam Von Duve, it was a mixture of both that inspired him to launch his career as an apprentice at Mount Gambier’s Jubilee Sawmill. Sam is currently completing his apprenticeship in mechanical engineering, working at the mill whilst completing his certificate 3 at the local TAFE. 

The Sawmill is thrilled to call Sam a member of its team. His hard work and positive attitude has brought a number of projects to life including, upgrades at the dry mill and assisting international experts service state of the art machines.

But the Von Duve legacy didn’t start with Sam. His father, Mike, was also a well-respected member of the Jubilee Sawmill, leading the dry mill team and inspiring his colleagues every day with his calm and humble leadership, and helping his team grow their own careers. 

Growing up Sam was able to see first-hand the many benefits of working in the regional timber industry, commenting “Both of my parents instilled some really good values in me, and taught me to always look out for and learn from interesting people.” 

“I saw my Dad go to work every day and enjoy working with a diverse bunch of people. He had a great career, but more importantly, he and our family gained lifelong friends from his workmates.” 

OneFortyOne’s Jubilee Sawmill is one of the largest mills in Australia, coupled with its extensive forest estate, and forests and mill in New Zealand, the company proudly provides traineeships, graduate programs and career opportunities at the forefront of science and technology, in one of the world’s most environmentally sustainable industries. 

“There used to be the idea that working in the mill meant low pay and a boring job simply stacking timber”, says Sam. 

“I think that misconception is changing now. More and more young people know that the timber industry will provide them with really interesting and well-paid jobs after school, working for successful, secure companies in regional areas.” 

As part of Sam’s practical learning he has worked on a variety of mechanical projects, under the guidance of some of the most experienced and well respected sawmillers, engineers and mechanics in the industry, some of whom also worked with his father.

“Of course, it’s a real privilege to work in the same mill as my Dad did, but I’m also looking forward to establishing my own career and I have the opportunity to do that here.”

“Both my parents taught me not to be scared of failure and to always have a go. I think those lessons have set me up well to create my own opportunities, as I learn my craft and trade in a world-class high-tech and innovative industry”. 

OneFortyOne acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their deep connections to land, water, and community. We pay our respect to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations people today.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori communities have a strong spiritual connection between people and the land – the wellbeing of one sustains the wellbeing of the other. We strive to build meaningful relationships with iwi as tangata whenua (people of the land/region), to be responsible intergenerational kaitiaki (stewards/guardians) of the land where our forests grow.