St Patrick’s Technical College’s first intake of students studying information technology have logged on for the first time.
In what is believed to be a first in South Australia, Year 11 students are studying a Certificate IV in Programming which could lead to a career as a Software Engineer or Software Developer. The course is being run in partnership with TAFE SA and Saab Australia as part of the Australian Government’s $5.1 million P-TECH Australia program.
Cameron Grimmond (pictured at front) is among the first intake for the course at StPatsTech. A keen gamer, Cameron will study the dedicated information technology course for the two years of his senior schooling. He said this focus on IT was the deciding factor in opting to attend StPatsTech over his previous school.
“I’ve always been interested in IT and my grandma suggested I look at coming here (to StPatsTech),’’ Cameron said.
“I’m not really sure what I want to do as a career but I know it will be something to do with IT.’’
Cameron said he hoped the course would expand his skills and understanding. He was enjoying the hands-on nature of the course as well.
“I really like my teacher (Michael Gauci) as well. Knowing he’s a software engineer, it’s great. He has had a lot of experience in the past and knows what he’s talking about, which you can respect.’’
Saab Australia’s Rebecca Giovine, Manager – People Development, visited the College recently to meet the students and introduce them to Saab Australia. The company will play an active and important role in the IT course by offering mentoring, work experience and inviting students to contribute ideas for projects.
“For us at Saab Australia, we want to partner with high schools in this capacity to help create the future pipeline of talent within the technology industry,’’ Ms Giovine said.
“It’s about fostering talented young people and opening their eyes to the potential career pathways in companies like Saab Australia.’’
Ms Giovine said she hoped the students would be set on the pathway to become software developers or computer scientists either through full-time employment following their Year 12 graduation or future tertiary student.
TAFE SA IT Lecturer Danny Sarris, who is delivering the program at StPatsTech alongside teacher Michael Gauci, said the program aligned with the State Government’s economic priorities and supported the focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.
“The Government has a big focus on STEM skills and future job roles which will involve more IT skills,” Mr Sarris said.
“As part of this innovative program, students will spend a dedicated day focusing on their programming studies including industry visits and mentorship with Saab Australia staff.
“Once they complete the two-year program, students have direct entry to the Diploma of Software Development and the Bachelor of IT at Flinders University or UniSA if they wish. They may also be eligible to undertake traineeships or internships with Saab Australia.”
Overseeing StPatsTech’s three P-TECH projects – others include an engineering course in partnership with Century Engineering and an electrotechnology course in partnership with PMB Defence – is Skilling Australia Foundation’s Toni Hartley.
Ms Hartley congratulated the students on taking control of their future by enrolling in the IT course at StPatsTech.
“Saab Australia recognised an opportunity to engage with young people based on an identified need for Diploma level software engineers as a direct result of the future defence industry projects in South Australia,’’ Ms Hartley said.
“We expect a workforce increase from 350 to around 600 over the next three years and not all those positions require a university degree. We expect to see entry level software engineering jobs for Certificate IV or Diploma level graduates.’’