Industry Office

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Jobs Boom for the North

St Patrick’s Technical College has welcomed news that Elizabeth will become a centre for crane manufacturing after it was announced Victorian-based Australian Crane and Machinery (ACM) would set up a base at the former Holden plant.

The $16-million announcement was made today and comes following an announcement late last year that Melbourne-based cyber security company VeroGuard Systems would invest $57.5 million in building a manufacturing facility in Edinburgh.

StPatsTech College Principal Danny Deptula said the 600 jobs expected from VeroGuard and 190 from the ACM manufacturing plant was great news for young people looking to enter a trade or technical career.

“While we hope this will provide employment for the workers affected by the closure of the Holden manufacturing plant at Elizabeth last year, we also recognise that the next generation of workers in the North will greatly benefit by having these multi-million companies operating in the area,” Mr Deptula said.

He said Automotive, Metals, Engineering and Electrotechnology students would be well positioned for apprenticeships with the companies. ACM will employ welders, fitters, auto electricians and machinists as well as automotive tradespeople.

“The announcement today is proof there is a strong future for apprentices in northern Adelaide and clear career outcomes for young people interested in trades,’’ Mr Deptula said.

ACM Managing Director Ben Potter said ACM chose the site in Elizabeth because of the presence of skilled labour, engineers and a stable workforce and political environment.

“The location is excellent for export market shipping and access to wind farms where our largest units are used for maintenance. Of course, the weather is also great, which is important for us working and testing our machines in the field,” he said.

ACM manufacturing centre will begin production early next year. The plant will cover up to 28,000 square metres and ACM will receive a $2.2 million grant from the Economic Investment Fund to establish the facility.

ACM is the largest privately-owned manufacturer of cranes and Elevated Work Platforms (EWPs) in the Oceania region and exports to the United States, Chile and Canada.

Today’s announcement adds to the success of Investment Attraction South Australia (IASA), which is bringing companies like Boeing and Technicolor to our state.

Premier Jay Weatherill said the announcement by ACM was avote of confidence” in South Australia’s ability to manufacture and export technically-advanced, large-scale equipment to the world.

“It will create a diverse range of jobs and apprenticeships in the metal trades. This is important in the context of creating and maintaining skill synergies across other industry sectors including defence, infrastructure, energy and mining,” Mr Weatherall said.

Pictured from left is St Patrick’s Technical College Principal Danny Deptula with Northern Economic Plan Director Laki Kondylas and Chairman Steve Ludlam and College Industry Partnerships Manager Toni Hartley on a tour of the school’s Metals and Engineering workshop.

On the same page when it comes to jobs for youth

Apprenticeships for Northern Adelaide’s young people play an important part in the economic and social health of the region, according to Chairman of the Northern Economic Plan Steve Ludlam.

Mr Ludlam and Northern Economic Plan Director Laki Kondylas stopped by St Patrick’s Technical College today to meet with new Principal Danny Deptula and Industry Partnerships Manager Toni Hartley.

The group discussed similar ideals in seeing more Northern Adelaide youth being put into apprenticeships.

‘We like to see what different organisations are doing and how we can work together to provide support for apprenticeships,’ Mr Ludlam said.

Mr Ludlam said the Northern Economic Plan had done a lot of work around supporting the workers during the recent closure of the Holden factor at Elizabeth but also wanted to ensure pathways to employment are open and accessible for the region’s youth. In particular, Mr Ludlam said growing the area’s Defence industries would see more jobs for youth and benefit the region in the long term.

Mr Deptula said StPatsTech had a tradition of fostering strong links with industry.

‘We have had more than 820 young people signed up to an apprenticeship because our students are learning the skills that industry need and want,’ Mr Deptula said.

‘Being responsive to industry demands means that local businesses can source local workers and this has a wonderful flow-on effect across our entire community as well as changing the life of that young person placed into an apprenticeship or traineeship.’

With the College introducing the P-TECH Australia program in 2017 with a focus on Defence industries, Mr Deptula said the school was well aligned to help provide the modern workforce employers will need as the Defence space expands in Adelaide.

The Northern Economic Plan covers the local government areas of Playford City, Salisbury City and Port Adelaide Enfield City.

Pictured from left is St Patrick’s Technical College Principal Danny Deptula with Northern Economic Plan Director Laki Kondylas and Chairman Steve Ludlam and College Industry Partnerships Manager Toni Hartley on a tour of the school’s Metals and Engineering workshop.

College stalwart steps down

Establishing an entirely new school usually takes up to four years, but when St Patrick’s Technical College began it took a small team under two years to open the doors for students.

One of the original instigators of St Patrick’s Technical College, then known as the Australian Technical College (ATC) – Northern Adelaide, was Jim Montgomery, 72, who recently retired as the school’s Industry Relations Manager, a role he has inhabited for the entire life of the College. Mr Montgomery is responsible for ensuring the College has a strong relationship with local industry and is meeting the skills needs of those industries.

He leaves the role in the capable hands of Toni Hartley who has worked closely with the College through the Skilling Australia Foundation’s P-TECH program.

Affiliated with the now defunct Northern Adelaide Development Board (NADB), Mr Montgomery was asked to help build the case for a technical college in Adelaide’s north by NADB manager Max Davids. Mr Davids, who was the driving force behind the establishment of StPatsTech, would go on to be a member of the College’s inaugural board.

In 2005, partnering with Catholic Education South Australia (CESA), Mr Montgomery helped write the submission to the Federal Government for the College. He was responsible for writing the industry side of the proposal by addressing industry needs and wants and building relationships with local employers and businesses.

“When it established the Australian Technical Colleges, the Federal Government laid down some guidelines. One of those was the requirement for the schools to be industry-driven. I had already done many years in industry relations with the NADB, so that is why Max asked me to help with the submission for Northern Adelaide,’’ Mr Montgomery said.

The submission by the consortium led by Mr Davids and CESA was successfully selected to establish a northern Adelaide ATC, one of three set up in South Australia. But this is when the real work began and Mr Montgomery was asked to stay on the team to help develop a business plan.

“Max was really the driving force behind the establishment of the college during this time and he was determined to see it through,’’ Mr Montgomery said.

“At this time I was working as a consultant and really focussed on developing the industry links right up until the College opened.’’

By September 2006, the newly-formed board were able to appoint staff to the College and the first Continue reading

Century Engineer PTECH 2017 participants with Andrew Sinclair upon receiving their welding certificates.

First year success for skills program

As the 2017 school year comes to a close, we are looking back at one of the most innovative programs run at St Patrick’s Technical College this year – the Century Engineering P-TECH collaboration.

The College joined 13 other schools from around the country as part of the Australian Government’s $5.1 million P-TECH Australia pilot program. P-TECH brings industry and education institutions together to help students develop science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills in a practical, real-world manner. The program aims to develop students’ knowledge within the STEM space as well as directly addressing industry needs and build future workforces.

StPatsTech introduced two programs this year with a third coming online in 2018.

  • Defence Force contractor Century Engineering worked with Year 11 Engineering students to develop their welding skills to the Australian standards.
  • PMB Defence, which builds the batteries that power Australia’s fleet of Collins class submarines, worked with Electrotechnology students to develop their battery knowledge and system skills.
  • Saab Australia, which operates in the advanced technology space with Adelaide’s defence sector, will mentor students from 2018 as part of the College’s new information technology course.

intertek-(8)rAndrew Sinclair, Business Development Manager with Century Engineering, sat down with StPatsTech to talk about the engineering program he helped drive this year.

“There is a skills shortage across the engineering trades and I hope programs like P-TECH can be part of the solution to address those needs,’’ Mr Sinclair said.

“It’s a great advantage for students to engage with industry at an earlier stage such as from Year 11.

“It’s also been very rewarding to see the students engage with the program and it was quite surprising how well they took in the information, especially in the practical stages.

“The students have really evolved and developed over the course of the program, which is fantastic to see.’’

Mr Sinclair, who was Century Engineering’s main mentor for the program, said he also enjoyed working with the teachers and giving them a better knowledge of the industry.

Describing his relationship with the College as “excellent”, Mr Sinclair said the flexibility and understanding of industry demands and timetables was a big element in the program’s first year success.

Northern Adelaide P-TECH Industry Liaison Officer, Toni Hartley, from the Skilling Australia Foundation, has been the bridge between the College’s teachers and industry to develop the three programs and hopes to see more roll out in the coming years.

Ms Hartley praised Century Engineering for its commitment to the P-TECH program across the whole company from management to the workshop floor.

“Century Engineering, along with StPatsTech’s other industry partners PMB Defence and Saab Australia, have shown a real commitment to their industries and the future workforce by investing their time and effort into developing P-TECH programs for South Australian youth,’’ Ms Hartley said.

“These programs have opened industry doors to the young people who have taken part and have served to give them a greater understanding of career pathways within the Defence industry space.’’

Major partner in the P-TECH program at StPatsTech is TAFE SA, which accredits the courses ensuring students are formally recognised for their skills.

Ms Hartley said bringing students, industry and tertiary education together in one program helped students clearly see the pathways open to them in trade and technical careers. One of the core purposes of the P-TECH program is to demonstrate to students the vocational or apprenticeship pathway to higher education.

“We are working hard to ensure young people understand the many interesting, fulfilling, and financially rewarding career choices today’s tradesmen and women have, especially within the STEM sector,’’ she said.

“All too often university is pushed onto students as the only pathway to a long and successful career but that is just not the case. Armed with a Year 12 education and technical and trade qualifications, a worker can enjoy a varied and interesting career with as much earning power and potential for growth as their university trained peers.’’

The Federal Department of Employment figures in December 2016 showed there was a skills shortage in South Australia in sheet metal trades workers and metal machinists (1st class).

The Labour Market for Engineering Trades Workers in South Australia report said within engineering trades, only 66 per cent of vacancies in Adelaide were able to be filled because workers lacked experience and skills.

GPA 2

GPA Engineering site visit

Year 11 Engineering students recently learnt how critical it is for manufacturers to follow engineering designs as part of St Patrick’s Technical College’s P-TECH program.

The students visited GPA Engineering in Unley and heard from Principal Civil / Structural Engineer, Amilcar Guerra, about the importance of engineering and design. The students were shown a number of case studies of poor design or manufacturing, which resulted in serious failures of infrastructure, and how and why the failures occurred.

GPA 1Mr Guerra, who has nearly 20 years’ experience in civil and structural engineering, told the students good engineers had a strong understanding of workshop practices and the technical skills required to create designs. He said collaboration between engineers and manufacturers was important to create safe, robust and efficient infrastructure.

StPatsTech P-TECH partner, Century Engineering, arranged the visit to GPA. Century Engineering development manager Andrew Sinclair, who has been mentoring the students, also attended the meeting.

“In fabrication it is critical we follow the engineers’ drawings and get it right,’’ Mr Sinclair told the students.

“What has caused a fault could be as simple as an undersized weld or lack of fusion in the weld and a crack starts.’’

The Australian Government’s $5.1 million P-TECH pilot program has seen three employers partner with StPatsTech to help students realise pathways through science, technology, engineering and maths streams. These pathways can be through apprenticeships and vocational education or university and it is hoped the StPatsTech P-TECH program will help bridge skills gaps in Adelaide’s Defence industries.

Along with Century Engineering, which is a heavy manufacturer for a number of Defence contracts, the College has partnered with PMB Defence, which designs and builds batteries for the Collins class submarine, and Saab Australia, Australia’s most experienced defence system company.

Dale Williams

StPatsTech farewell to Holden

When you drive around Adelaide’s northern suburbs one brand of vehicle is seen more than any other – the Holden. The much-loved badge will today cease production in Australia when Holden’s Elizabeth plant closes its doors.

One person responsible for more than 10 Holdens, including classic models like the Torana, on northern roads is StPatsTech Old Scholar Dale Williams, 23.

St Patrick’s Technical College has reflected on its association with the company and its impact on the northern region.

Holden lineup (002)

Dale, who lives at Two Wells, did his apprenticeship at Holden after graduating from StPatsTech’s electrotechnology program. He began his electrical apprenticeship in 2012 but left as soon as he completed his training.

“I was about half way through my electrical apprenticeship when they said they were closing. So all of us apprentices kind of knew the writing was on the wall in terms of us not having a job. There were 10 apprentices at the time and we all knew there would be no job after and as soon as were signed off we were out the door.”

“I left Holden on January 30, 2016 and I was able to get another job within a month. I now work in the lift industry and it’s something completely different.’’

Dale said after the announcement of the closure the mood at the factory changed. He said it was sad to see colleagues and friends made redundant over the past several years.

Dale is pictured with his dad Chris during one of Holden’s farewell events. Dale was able to put his first car, a 1976 Holden LX Torana with a V8 355 Stroker motor on the assembly line. Dale has a collection of more than 10 Holdens which he has restored.

StPatsTech-P-TECHPathway-SoftwareEngineering

Defence industries open for Northern Adelaide students

As Holden’s Elizabeth plant closes its doors on Friday, a local high school is offering students 21st century alternatives in emerging industries.

St Patrick’s Technical College in Edinburgh North is at the forefront of helping industries meet future employment needs by training senior high school students in the skills identified as lacking by local Defence and advanced manufacturing companies.

Working closely with Adelaide-based Defence industry heavyweights Century Engineering, PMB Defence and Saab Australia through the Federal Governments $5.1 million P-TECH program, StPatsTech has developed projects to ensure students learn real-world skills sought-after by employers.

The college boasts a 98 per cent employment rate for graduates thanks to its Entrepreneurial Education model. The College encourages students to play to their strengths and abilities and tailors its programs to suit specific trade areas and also offers a unique School-based Apprenticeship model with extensive, strong links to industry.

As local, traditional manufacturing gives way to global economies and technological advancement, workers need to pivot their skills to ensure they are both employable and meeting the demands on industry, StPatsTech College Business Development Manager Patrick Kelly said this week. He said it was vitally important for South Australia’s emerging industries that today’s teenagers engage now with training to ensure multi-billion dollar projects earmarked for the region can source the skilled workers necessary for production.

P-TECH’s focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects will put students at the forefront of 21st careers. From 2018, Year 11 students can study both their senior school certificate and a Certificate IV in Programming at StPatsTech. This IT stream has been developed in partnership with Saab Australia and aims to produce the next generation of software engineers who have hands-on knowledge to bring engineering designers’ ideas to life.

Mr Kelly said 2017 has seen the conversation about the value of vocational education and training take on a national focus.

“Often seen as the poor cousin to university education we are delighted to see universities, government and business recognise the capacity and importance of vocational education and training,” Mr Kelly said.

Earlier this month we heard from Jennifer Westacott, CEO of the Business Council of Australia, who spoke about a new plan for tertiary education and training. In a speech to the National Press Club, Ms Westacott said Australia needed to be at the forefront of new technologies and ensuring the workforce can meet those requirements or it would be left behind globally.

“Our current occupational structures are also overly focussed on credentialising too many things as university qualifications. And, of course, this credentialising problem stems from the cultural problem that VET has a lower status than higher education,” Ms Westacott said.

“Once and for all we need to fix this cultural bias, reinforced by funding bias, that a VET qualification is a second-class qualification to a university one. It isn’t. In a world where machines and people will work together and technical skills will be needed by all workers, that cultural bias can only create damage.’’

Mr Kelly said Friday’s final closure of Holden’s Elizabeth plant was a sad day for the community. The company had employed some of the school’s students as apprentices as well as the College’s Deputy Principal Terry Neville, who began his apprenticeship at the plant in 1974.

TNE-Saab

Virtual Hawaii

Staff from StPatsTech recently took a trip to Hawaii. That is to say, they virtually went to the Pacific islands thanks to an immersive experience at Saab Australia’s headquarters at Technology Park.

Saab Australia is one of the College’s P-TECH partners along with Century Engineering and PMB Defence. The three leading defence industry companies recently hosted teachers and staff for a professional development session to help the educators better understand the businesses and their specific work projects.

BHI-SaabFrom managing a battlefield, thanks to Microsoft’s HoloLens, to seeing inside the security system for a prison and learning how the Royal Australian Navy is able to combat missile and torpedo attacks, the College staff were able to get a picture of Saab Australia’s multifaceted business.

The group also heard from Kerryn Smith, Director of Industry at the Defence Teaming Centre, who spoke about the current and future employment opportunities in South Australia’s defence industries. Ms Smith said with the number of large defence contracts now in place, programs like P-TECH were integral in ensuring a consistent and well-trained local workforce. This workforce would ensure the on-going success and strength of defence industries in South Australia, Ms Smith said.

The group were hosted during the site visits by Saab Australia Managing Director, Dean Rosenfield, Century Engineering Managing Director, David Heaslip and PMB Defence’s Engineering and Program Manager, Claude Messina.

Earlier this year, StPatsTech announced its partnership with the three companies. The College has already started delivery of the industry led P-TECH Engineering program (with Century Engineering) and Electrotechnology program (with PMB Defence).

The Saab Australia P-TECH partnership will see the introduction of a new Information Technology program for the College in 2018 featuring a Certificate IV in Programming. This industry-level certification will see students concurrently study the IT qualification alongside a fully contextualised SACE course over two years. In addition, the students will receive unique mentoring, work experience and access to projects with Saab Australia.

Typically, Saab Australia recruits its next generation workforce as engineer graduates from software, mechatronic and electronic disciplines, but the world is changing. Fast.

Saab Australia’s People Development Manager, Rebecca Giovine says, “We know we need to engage with and inspire students early to show them the exciting, rewarding careers our industry offers. Our collaboration with StPatsTech through the P-TECH program certainly helps with that objective”.

College Principal, Rob Thomas, said the Certificate IV in Programming presents a great opportunity for students to gain valuable skills, industry mentoring and connections and real-world experiences.

“These P-TECH courses could lead to an amazingly diverse and interesting long-term career across a range of industries,’’ Mr Thomas said.

“The College is working to broaden the skills of students so they can take their place in the workforce and have the knowledge and skills which makes them more competitive in the jobs market and P-TECH will be a big part of that vision going forward.’’

Enrolments for all StPatsTech programs in 2018 are now open. Visit www.stpatstech.sa.edu.au for more information.

Branden-WExp

Work experience

Undertaking work experience is the difference between securing an apprenticeship or not. The extensive work experience program at StPatsTech is one of the main reasons why the College has seen nearly 800 students gain apprenticeships over the past 10 years.

Whether it is a school-based apprenticeship started in Year 12 or a full-time apprenticeship following graduation, employers are consistently sourcing their newest tradesmen and women from the College’s work experience program.

For students, work experience can not only rule in potential career pathways, but importantly help you rule out jobs. It also helps builds technical skills, get a feel for the workplace and develop your confidence and communication skills.

Brandon Hwang, 16, from the StPatsTech Engineering program spent his latest work experience block at the College’s P-TECH partner, Century Engineering at Edinburgh North.

Working with the company’s 71-year-old boilermaker, Ken Tipping, Brandon said he had gained a good insight into the industry he’s keen to join.

“I’ve been able to see the type of work they do here (at Century Engineering) and how important precisions is,’’ Brandon said.

Ken said exposure to industry and workshops was important for potential apprentices to ensure they were on the right career path. “The students need to know if they want to be in this environment because it’s not for everyone,’’ Mr Tipping said.

Brandon is one of StPatsTech’s Engineering P-TECH students who, under the guidance of Century Engineering, are learning about the importance of Australian Standards in the welding and fabrication industry. As part of the 2017 P-TECH course, students will learn to do a fillet weld to the Australian Standard by the end of the year.

Maddie-David

Meet our latest SA Training Awards finalist

Madison ter Bogt, St Patrick’s Technical College Year 12 student and apprentice Chef at FINO Seppeltsfield, has been named as a finalist in the SA Training Awards 2017, School-based Apprentice of the Year Award.

Madison said she was very excited to be named as a finalist for the annual prize, which is part of the peak awards for apprentices and trainees in South Australia.

St Patrick’s Technical College last year celebrated with Old Scholar, Jack Donaldson, being named as South Australia’s Apprentice of the Year, while Rhys Ferrari, an electronics apprentice with BAE Systems, was a finalist in the School-based category.

“This nomination could change my career,’’ 17-year-old Madison said.

maddi2Madison is studying a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery with TAFE SA and under the guidance of head chef, Sam Smith, at the award-winning FINO Seppeltsfield.

“Madison is very committed to the industry in her care and attention she pays to products and technique,’’ Chef Smith said.

FINO Seppeltsfield has three apprentices in its kitchen at the moment, with Madison the only school-based apprentice. Past FINO apprentices, including, Sarah Voigt (StPatsTech 2011), have gone on to work overseas and in top, Michelin-rated restaurants.

Madison has big plans for her future as well. She hopes to travel the world to expand her culinary knowledge.

College Business Development Manager, Patrick Kelly, said the school was immensely proud of Madison’s shortlisting in the awards.

“Maddie is a fine example of the great outcomes possible for students when educators and industry work together,’’ Mr Kelly said.

“Madison is able to focus on her passion for cooking without sacrificing her education and being shortlisted as finalist will open even more doors to her.

“We are very proud of Madison and wish her all the best for the awards.’’

The winner will be named at the SA Training Awards 2017 Gala Dinner on 1 September at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.