NorthEastern Weekly – August 22, 2018: Adelaide’s promise of a robust defence industry rides on the back of contractors being able to draw from a pool of skilled trade workers.
St Patrick’s Technical College principal Danny Deptula says without a pipeline of electricians, technicians, metal workers, plumbers, mechanics and coders, the multi-billion dollar defence contracts awarded to Adelaide-based companies cannot be fulfilled.
“Just as importantly, Adelaide needs to ensure that these jobs are filled by Adelaideans,” Deptula says.
“This is where St Patrick’s Technical College has stepped in.
“Through the Northern Adelaide P-TECH Australia program, we are collaborating with three defence contractors, industry and tertiary education to provide high school students with the foundation skills they will need to be part of the defence industry boom in Adelaide.”
The Northern Adelaide P-TECH Australia collaboration has been named as one of the finalists in this year’s SA Training Awards.
Defence contractors Century Engineering, PMB Defence and Saab Australia together with TAFE SA and the Defence Teaming Centre joined with St Pat’s Tech in 2017 to address the skills needs of defence contractors.
Century Engineering, a heavy fabrication company with a strong history of defence contracts, works closely with students to develop welding skills.
The company is working to redress the gap in welding skills within the engineering industry.
Osborne-based PMB Defence, which builds the huge batteries for the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins Class submarines, works with St Pat’s Tech electrotechnology students to nurture their interest within the electrotechnology industry. PMB Defence and St Pat’s Tech have developed a project in which students code a probe which can take the vital statistics of a motorbike battery.
Saab Australia joined the PTECH Australia program to help develop young people’s coding and computer programming skills. The company hopes to be able to access technically trained workers who can take complex designs from university-qualified software engineers and bring them to life.
“We were delighted to hear our P-TECH Australia collaboration has been named as a finalist in the SA Training Awards,” Deptula says.
“But more importantly, we are extremely proud to be helping local youth gain skills needed by local defence contractors.”
St Pat’s Tech, based near RAAF Base Edinburgh in Edinburgh North, is Adelaide’s first P-TECH Australia College and has had almost 870 of its students commence an apprenticeship since opening its doors in 2007.
For more information, visit stpatstech.sa.edu.au