STUDENTS, families, local dignitaries and business representatives were out in full force last week
as St Patrick’s Technical College (SPTC) hosted a business lunch to celebrate National Skills Week.
The event was held at the Playford Civic Centre and aimed to highlight the importance of vocational education and training (VET), and how the changing technological landscape of the workforce will require VET training to be taken more seriously by the general public.
Skilling Australia Foundation chief executive Nicholas Wyman spoke, at the event, about the critical role VET plays within Australia, and the myths surrounding it.
“We feel like there is this myopic focus towards university, or bust,” Mr Wyman said.
“One of the most common myths is that if you follow a TAFE and vocational pathway, you’re getting your hands dirty, you’ll get poor pay, and if you wear fluoro it’s seen as a consolation prize at school.
“This idea that VET learning is for the ‘not-so-bright’ kids is just not true at all.” Mr Wyman said the development of a more skilled labour force, through VET pathways, is something that needs to be considered nationally.
“Robotics and artificial intelligence is changing the way we live and work,” he said.
Crowds packed the Playford Civic Centre for the St Patrick’s Technical College Business Lunch, to kick off National Skills Week.
“The routine, mundane work is going to disappear and in vocational jobs it’s going to be much more about working with robots and machines, so there will have to be a level of competence in science, maths, engineering and technology.” Year 11 and 12 students from the college’s commercial cookery class assisted in catering for the event, and helped provide lunches for all who attended.
South Australia senator David Fawcett, who also spoke at the event, said the college has led the way in vocational learning in SA, highlighted by statistics shown in the school’s 10-year report.
“(The report found) 800 SPTC students, of whom have got into apprenticeships, have shown a 94 per cent completion rate of these apprenticeships, which is outstanding, compared to the national benchmark,” he said.
“Looking at job outcomes, 98 per cent of people who have come through SPTC are in full-time work.
“That is an outstanding outcome, not only for those young people, but also for businesses that they are working with.” National Skills Week – now in its seventh year – is being held nationally from August 28 to September 3 and seeks to highlight the talents and skills of apprentices and trainees across Australia, to showcase the opportunities available through VET education.
St Patrick’s Technical College commercial cookery students Kurtis Joyce, (left), and Kurtis Miettunen were joined in the kitchen by Skilling Australia Foundation chief executive and guest speaker Nicholas Wyman. Photo: Tom Staggard