Northern Weekly, Adelaide – 26 September 2018: We hear plenty of talk about Defence industries, multi-million dollar contracts and a shipbuilding boom, but what does this actually mean for the young people of Adelaide?
In real terms, this billion dollar industry means jobs – for trades-persons and jobs for our young people. Adelaide’s Defence contractors need a pipeline of skilled workers to meet the stringent demands of the Defence market.
But as one of SA’s premier Technical Colleges, I can tell you there are not enough young people putting their hands up for these jobs. Current Year 10 students are in the driver’s seat for the predicted boom and if they are not seriously considering a vocational education pathway, employers will need to look elsewhere for workers.
The Defence industry needs electricians, metal workers, plumbers, technicians, mechanics, software engineers and construction workers. Most importantly, all these trades will need a strong grounding in science, technology, engineering and maths skills (STEM) to meet the demands of the 21st Century. Who is better placed to work on some of the most advanced military assets than our digital natives?
St Patrick’s Technical College is preparing students for the Defence industries through its P-TECH Australia program with contractors Century Engineering, Saab Australia and PMB Defence. Our students have begun apprenticeships and traineeships within the Defence space and are at the forefront of the boom.
To encourage more young people to confidently step into apprenticeships and traineeships and help grow Adelaide’s Defence industries, we need to raise the profile of Vocational Education. Now is the time for parents and educators to realise that a university pathway has not got the market cornered on successful outcomes. A trade or technical career can be as rewarding, if not more so when you look at it financially, as a career gained through a university education. What we need is for every student and parent to be presented with the opportunity for a Vocational Education pathway on the same merits as a university pathway.
– Danny Deptula, Principal, St Patrick’s Technical College.