Cecil Andrews College student Kayla Roemer-Hanisch addressed the Western Australia Indo-Pacific Defence Conference in Perth on October 30. The conference was co-hosted by the Perth USAsia Centre, Defence West and the Government of Western Australia. In front of a sold-out conference, Kayla shared how the Southern Perth Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) program has helped to set her career pathway into the defence industry.
P-TECH engineering student Kayla shared the stage with a strong list of speakers including Premier of Western Australia Mark McGowan MLA, Minister for Defence the Hon Christopher Pyne MP and the Chief of Navy Vice-Admiral Michael Noonan AO, RAN. The conference discussed the role Western Australia will play in the future of Australia’s growing defence industry, but also looked at how the impact of the Indo-Pacific area has major implications for national defence and regional security.
With the growth of the defence industry in Western Australia, a pipeline for a locally based, skilled and job-ready workforce continues to place pressure on WA-based companies. The Southern Perth P-TECH program provides the opportunity for students to explore and understand careers available for them to pursue in this growing and exciting industry.
In Year 10, Kayla, along with 14 other students, was given the opportunity to complete a two-year Certificate III Engineering (Technical) qualification through P-TECH.
“I was excited for this opportunity as there were only two other girls that wanted to do this course and it’s not something I would normally choose. Over the duration of the qualification and through being introduced to companies such as Civmec, Austal and Luerssen Shipbuilding, I was surprised at how interesting and complex the industry is and I have really changed the direction I want to take in the future for a career. At the start of Year 10, my goal and ambition was to become a primary school teacher, but the past two years have shown me that I would enjoy the challenge of the engineering, construction and naval shipbuilding industries. So, my ambition for the future is to go on and study a Diploma of Engineering (Technical) and from there have a career as a Design Engineer,” Kayla says.
The Southern Perth P-TECH program at Cecil Andrews College provides students with direct access to defence industry companies Austal, Civmec, Thales and Datacom. Students have the opportunity to engage with these companies by visiting the workplace and having industry come into the classroom. Students are now actively pursuing career goals they never thought existed or could be achieved.
The Australian Government has invested $5.1 million to establish 14 P-TECH pilot sites in Australia. Introduced in January, 2017 Cecil Andrews College is currently the only P-TECH pilot based in Western Australia. Skilling Australia Foundation has been engaged by the Government to assist local stakeholders to work together to implement P-TECH learning programs at all pilot sites.