MANY TALENTS: Apprenticeships Queensland general manager Dave Handyside is retiring.
MANY TALENTS: Apprenticeships Queensland general manager Dave Handyside is retiring. Rob Williams

Tiser man was handy for jobs

WHETHER it is an association with his beloved Ipswich Rangers, as co-founder of the Ipswich Advertiser or General Manager of Apprenticeships Queensland at West Ipswich, Dave Handyside is a familiar face around town.

He calls Ipswich his adopted community.

He was born in Brisbane and spent 10 years of his early life in Melbourne.

"Mayor Paul Pisasale reckons there are two types of people, those that are born in Ipswich and those who wish they were born in Ipswich," Mr Handyside said.

"I fall into the latter and I have the certificate from the Mayor to prove it."

At 67, Mr Handyside plans to retire on July 1 after a colourful career that has helped shape Ipswich.

He considers his greatest achievement establishing Apprenticeships Queensland.

"All the things I have done in my life have helped me to do this job," he said.

"You need such a varied background to deal with the people we have to deal with now.

"You're dealing with a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed school leaver who knows nothing about the workforce up to talking to the Minister for Training. I've met Malcolm Turnbull in my dealings with group training."

Mr Handyside began his working life as a bank teller at Toowong.

After working as a labourer in Newcastle and a clerk in Melbourne, he moved back to Queensland, to Ipswich in 1970, worked as a farm hand at Purga for six months before starting at the QT as the circulation manager.

He managed a Brisbane suburban newspaper for a short stint before setting up the Ipswich Advertiser in 1978.

"Once you get ink in your veins it never gets out," he said.

"The Advertiser was the first free weekly in Australia to do letter box deliveries.

"We were based above the old Goleby building and we did everything.

"We ended up doing the typesetting and paste-up.

"Ipswich was doing very well then. It was thriving.

There was a real estate boom in Ipswich when I first moved here.

"The Railways were still going strong, people were living on base at Amberley."

After selling his share of the Advertiser he worked in various jobs before setting up Apprenticeships Queensland at West Ipswich in 1988.

"It was very new.

"The company had only started in 1986.

"The first group training company in Australia started in 1979.

"When I started we had 34 apprentices and we have had up to 320 apprentices employed in the Ipswich area.

"Those apprentices and trainees keep turning over so over the years we have employed nearly 5000 people. It is immensely rewarding.

"When you get someone who has a bit of a struggle getting through their time, the day you see them get through their time and you see the look on their faces, that they have that piece of paper, it is a fantastic feeling."

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