Plains Producer – October 17, 2018: A Northern Adelaide senior secondary trade school has begun training what it hopes will be South Australia’s first digital apprentices.
St Patrick’s Technical College, in Edinburgh North, has partnered with global technology companies, Saab Australia and DXC Technology, as part of the Australian Government’s $5.1 million P-TECH Australia program.
This year, the college introduced a TAFE SA Information Technology (IT) course to its already successful trade and technical programs, which have seen nearly 900 young people start an apprenticeship or traineeship since 2007.
The year 11 IT students have been mentored by Saab Australia and DXC Technology as well as receiving exclusive hands-on work experience at both companies.
College principal, Danny Deptula, said following the completion on their course at the end of 2019, the IT students would be poised to take up traineeships, internships or newly-created digital apprenticeships within Adelaide’s burgeoning defence industries sector.
“This is a really exciting time for these students as they will be at the coal face of some of the most impressive and innovative technologies servicing the defence industry,’’ Mr Deptula said.
Mr Deptula said the college was working with the Defence Teaming Centre as well as other defence contractors, Century Engineering and PMB Defence, to help build Adelaide’s workforce which will support projects such as naval shipbuilding.
The college has also begun work to expand its engineering workshop to ensure it meets the demand from young people wanting a trade.
“If you are a young person currently in year nine or 10 at school and are not sure if university is the right choice for you, then the smart money is on vocational education with
St PatsTech,’’ Mr Deptula said.
“You get access to state-of-the art workshops, trade-trained teachers, industry knocking at our door for apprentices and trainees and, by the time you are 21, your bank account could read plus $50,000 instead of minus $50,000 like your peers.”
Mr Deptula said the college had seen many students from the north and north-west of Adelaide successfully join its ranks.
Among those this year was Cain Gerrits and Santiago Bribiesca Diaz from the Gawler area.
Cain, an apprentice plasterer in his family’s multi-generational business, and Santiago, who is undertaking a hospitality traineeship at the Mayfair Hotel in Adelaide, were named as two of the top four school-based apprentices in SA at the recent SA Training Awards.
“St PatsTech has had a fabulous year with five finalists in the training awards, and our old scholar, Jarrod Morton, taking home the title of SA Apprentice of the Year,’’ Mr Deptula said.
“Jarrod’s win was absolutely fantastic and made even better by the fact another old scholar, Jack Donaldson, had won the same title just two years earlier.’’
St Patrick’s Technical College is currently taking enrolments for 2019 and 2020 and scholarship opportunities are now open.