CHARGING AHEAD: Electrician Owen Murray is excited to be a finalist for Apprentice of the Year in the Queensland Training Awards. INSET: The Murray family, before Jackie’s cancer diagnosis.
CHARGING AHEAD: Electrician Owen Murray is excited to be a finalist for Apprentice of the Year in the Queensland Training Awards. INSET: The Murray family, before Jackie’s cancer diagnosis. Rachael Conaghan Rokrmurray

Apprentice of Year tackled mortgage, two kids, wife's cancer

HE'S been named as a finalist for Apprentice of the Year, but there was a time when Owen Murray didn't think he'd even finish his electrical trade.

He was three years into his four-year apprenticeship when his wife Jackie was diagnosed with breast cancer.

With two kids in day care and a mortgage to also think about, Owen wasn't sure whether the family could make do on an apprentice wage, but it was Jackie who encouraged him to continue.

"With a mortgage, two kids, a wife who was very, very, very ill… it got to the point where it did get a bit overwhelming," he said.

"Finances was the biggest thing for me, wondering how I was going to support my family.

"Jackie was the one who said keep going, you've got this far, just finish it."

Jackie was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2013, and is now in remission after having a double mastectomy to remove four tumours.

Their boys, Hayden and Levi, are now four and two.

Owen already had a refrigeration apprenticeship under his belt when he decided to begin studying to become an electrician, and he said he decided to branch out to try something new and make himself more employable.

"The day that I found out I passed the capstone… it was like a weight had lifted off my shoulders," he said.

"It feels good to actually be appreciated for the hard work.

"I feel like I've accomplished something (by becoming a finalist)."

Owen works for Damo's Extreme Electrical, and said he was really grateful for the support from his boss Damian Williams.

Owen is one of three finalists for Apprentice of the Year in the Queensland Training Awards, with the awards ceremony to take place on July 25 in Mackay.

QLD Training Awards

The finalists for the Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year are:

Steven Kuhl, Cert III in Engineering (Maintenance - Fitting and/or Turning)

Dion Schloss, Cert III in Electrotechnology Electrician

Owen Murray, Cert III in Electrotechnology Electrician


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