A new partnership will make young people more more employable, Lauren Ahwan discovers.
St Patrick’s Technical College is offering courses in electrotechnology and engineering as part of its involvement in the federal government’s Pathways in Technology (PTECH) pilot.
The college says being a P-TECH school has allowed it to “up the ante” on the skills it teaches.
As well as completing a certificate II qualification, as required through a traditional school-based apprenticeship, P-TECH students are taught skills industry has identified as lacking in the existing workforce.
For example, electrotechnology students design and test batteries to increase their understanding of the battery systems used in defence submarines, while engineering students learn to weld to Australian standards.
“(School-based engineering apprenticeship students) do welding but not to (Australian) standard,” says P-TECH liaison officer Toni Hartley says. “Industry have been saying to us, ‘Why don’t you go a little bit further (than what a certificate II offers)?’. So we’re doing that and giving students the skills that employers are looking for.”
Business development manager Patrick Kelly says P-TECH provides students with far greater employment options.
“It doesn’t mean that people wanting to be a domestic electrician can’t do this (P-TECH) program,” he says.
“It just means we have augmented the program to say here’s another option and another pathway you could look at.
“There are significant employment opportunities driven by the defence industries in northern Adelaide . and this is about broadening the career opportunities for our students.”
Through P-TECH, St Patrick’s has formed partnerships with local defence industry employers Century Engineering and PFB Defence.
It will also partner with Saab Australia from next year to provide a new software engineering course.
Year 11 metals and engineering student Brandon Hwang, 16, says taking part in P-TECH will help him stand out to employers once he finishes school.
“Welding is a skill I need to learn as part of the trade,” Hwang says.
“But other schools don’t offer the (higher-level) welding and trade program like StPatsTech.
“Knowing a bit more about welding, and what’s important within the industry, is really good.
“I’m hoping what I learn through the P-TECH program will help me jump into an apprenticeship and be more employable.”
KEEN: St Patrick’s Technical College Year 11 student Brandon Hwang. Picture: CALUM ROBERTSON