We are paying it forward.
AFS is using a recent boost in business to launch a first-of-its-kind CAD (computer aided design) drawing cadetship program.
The in-house program will allow cadets to be paid while learning the ropes of light gauge steel (LGS) frame detailing which is in high demand, with AFS experiencing a 20 per cent increase in business this year.
In partnership with the Queensland Government's Back to Work Initiative, AFS will identify young people looking for a trade via a recruitment campaign and provide them with an opportunity to work as a full time paid cadet for 12 months at its headquarters in Loganholme, Queensland.
Once qualified, the cadets will have the necessary skills to provide detailing services to 120 companies globally that use the Scottsdale software CAD drawing system.
AFS CEO, Jake Gundry, says while the company already employs a number of apprentices at its active project sites in South East Queensland, this cadet program would offer a junior entry-level introduction to LGS frame detailing.
"This will be an ongoing program, and to my knowledge no one else in Australia is offering paid in-house cadetships to learn CAD software to create steel framing for commercial and residential projects," he said.
"Our first group of recruits will have a complete hands-on experience, not only learning how to design, but also to fabricate and construct using steel framing, by building their very own dedicated workshop on site at our headquarters.
"This new training facility will be used to house future recruits who will go through the same program. It's all about helping the next generation get a start in steel fabrication, which is a career with plenty of employment opportunities and key to the construction industry.
"The CAD software we will be teaching our cadets is used by more than 120 companies globally, so this will open up the door for them to work with major companies in the future, while remaining based in Australia."
Apprentice Claire Martin says she chose to take up CAD drawing after trialling the software in high school.
"I had done some CAD modelling through high school and really enjoyed it and was one of my best subjects," she said.
"CAD drawing is important in so many industries, from construction and architecture to manufacturing, animation and even fashion, so this will open a lot of doors for me - especially as more companies become reliant on using technology in design.
"It's really interesting to be a part of helping to take something from a conceptual drawing through to production.
"I've only just started working with AFS but I really like my team and hope to continue with the company after I am qualified."
In addition to supporting cadets, AFS also works with Queensland correctional centres to provide training and employment in manufacturing LGS.
The company has provided opportunities for both men and women to learn part of the steel fabrication trade, with ongoing employment opportunities after leaving the correctional facilities.
"Offering pathways to employment for youth and those who have successfully been through the justice system creates a variety of positive social outcomes, by giving young people something to aspire to and reducing the risk of former inmates re-offending by providing purpose and stability."