FROM leaving high school in Year 11 to being a software engineer working on major defence contracts, Michael Gauci is an example of where trades and technical skills can take young people.
Gauci, a teacher at St Patrick’s Technical College, says his path would have been a lot more straightforward if he had been able to access vocational courses like those on offer at StPatsTech when he was a student.
“I would have still completed my trade and probably gone on to university, but to be able to stay at high school while doing the trade certificate at the same time would have saved me years,” Gauci says.
Instead he left school at the end of Year 11 to take up an electronics apprenticeship with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO).
At the same time he did Year 12 through TAFE SA at night.
“Had school-based apprenticeships been available back then, I would have jumped at the opportunity to stay at my school to complete Year 12, while embarking on a vocational pathway,” he says.
As soon as he finished his apprenticeship and Year 12, Gauci secured a job at BAE Systems Australia and enrolled in University of South Australia’s computer systems engineering degree part time.
It took him 10 years to complete while also working full time as an electronics technician, then in software engineering roles.
“My trade background and work experience within the defence industry, gave me a distinct advantage over other tertiary-qualified graduates in gaining engineering employment,” Gauci says.
Now after his career change into teaching, he says those early trade skills are still serving him well.
From 2018, he will head up the new Information Technology program at StPatsTech.
The course is a game-changer in the high school TVET sector and part of the college’s P-TECH Australia program.
It will feature a Certificate IV in Programming and is being developed in partnership with global defence industries company, Saab Australia, which will take a handson approach to mentoring and training the students.
The outcome of the program will be the next generation of software engineers and computer programmers ready for the workforce straight out of Year 12.
DETAILS: VISIT STPATSTECH.SA.EDU.AU OR CALL 8209 3700.
TO STAY AT HIGH SCHOOL WHILE DOING THE TRADE CERTIFICATE WOULD HAVE SAVED ME YEARS
EXPERIENCED: St Patrick’s Technical College teacher Michael Gauci.