Commencing earlier this year, St. Patrick’s Technical College is introducing an innovative P-TECH styled skills-based program that will provide an industry supported pathway for students to achieve a post-school qualification in areas of growing employment demand. This includes the skills and qualifications required to support construction and ongoing management roles across a range of defence industry projects of national significance.
To achieve this goal, St Patrick’s Technical College is working collaboratively with TAFE SA, Defence Teaming Centre and locally-based employer partners including Century Engineering, among others. Further major local employer partners are expected to join the partnership, providing additional resources and practical opportunities to students.
Earlier this month, year 11 Metals and Engineering students of St Patricks Technical College were hosted at a site visit by Century Engineering Business Development Manager, Andrew Sinclair. The group was also greeted by Century Engineering General Manager, David Heaslip.
Andrew provided a comprehensive overview of the capabilities and diversity of Century Engineering servicing the Defence, Resources & Energy, Water, Power and Rail industries. Andrew spoke of the pathways that many of the personnel in particular in the design and estimation teams have taken to progress their careers most starting as trade apprentices saying “if we had a choice of employing an Engineer that had come from a trade background, or someone that had a university degree with no practical experience, our preference would be the person that took the trade pathway as they have practical skills and understand how designs will be manufactured”.
The students were given a demonstration from the Engineering Design Team on real projects.
CAD Designer, Nick Allen demonstrated how CAD works and was impressed by the level of the student engagement and high level of interest. Nick said he felt the students were very receptive and clued up asking some great questions, stating “having come through the same route myself, this type of interaction is very useful at a time when we don’t really know how much we don’t know. I think it’s important to give an appreciation of what the career really involves.”
The students spent some time speaking with members from the estimating department, many of who also started their career through a vocational pathway.
The students attended a tour of the shop floor where they could see some of the designs being manufactured. This generated a great deal of interest and questions from the students.
Following the site visit a number of the participating students have expressed an interest in doing work experience with Century Engineering as part of their Certificate II qualification, and Century Engineering are more than happy to facilitate this.
Collaboration between education and industry strengthens the connection and alignment between student learning and the skills that employers need. In addition, the relationships students develop with their mentors and partner organisations improve their prospects when employment opportunities are available with a partner organisation, or within the partners’ broader business networks, and local region.