Industry Office


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 for more information.


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.


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.


The workforce evolving door

By Cara Jenkin, The Advertiser, Saturday 17 July 2017 – Pathways to a successful career can come from all directions, as one heavy diesel mechanic has discovered.

Aden Bird, 22, is a heavy diesel mechanic with CMV Trucks and St Patrick’s Technical College old scholar.

“I left Xavier College from year 11 to study year 12 at St Patrick’s because I really wanted to get into a trade and the StPatsTech mechanical program gave me a better chance to do that,’’ Aden said.

Aden said he liked the fact that StPatsTech Automotive teacher Mark Valente is a mechanic by trade as well as a teacher, so was able to impart real-world practical skills to the students.

Aden1“The thing about StPatsTech is that it doesn’t have just normal teachers who haven’t experienced the things that you want to do.’’

Aden was able to secure a full-time apprenticeship during Year 12 following a successful block of work experience with CMV Trucks.

The company has been a great supporter of StPatsTech having recently taken on another apprentice from the school following Aden gaining his qualification.

Aden said he enjoyed earning his own money during his apprenticeship and had been able to put together a $30,000 to $40,000 tool box as well as more than a dozen cars or motorbikes as hobby projects.

“My trade is also recognised worldwide so there’s no limit for me anymore. I would like to travel and maybe work overseas somewhere like Dubai where the diesel industry is very large.’’

St Patrick’s Technical College is located in Adelaide’s northern suburbs. Its unique education style sees students study their SACE as well as trade qualifications through the school’s partnership with TAFE SA.


P-TECH Engineering project

St Patrick’s Technical College and Century Engineering’s P-TECH partnership has seen Year 11 students learn the importance of maintaining industry standards when it comes to welding.

The Year 11 Engineering students were accompanied by Century Engineering’s Andrew Sinclair and Simon Doe to Intertek AIS (Adelaide Inspection Services) at Wingfield recently. The field trip was designed to help students understand why quality assurance is important and how it is achieved within the engineering industry.

The students, under the guidance of Century Engineering, are working on a project (as part of P-TECH) that will see them undertake a gas metal arc welding project to the requirements of Australian Standard AS 15541.1. Once their welding project is complete, their work will be taken to Intertek AIS for testing against the standard.

The project is designed to help bridge the gap in welding standards and help students gain valuable, employable skills.

CENTURY AIS VISITDamien Lynch, Manager, Mechanical Testing Asset Integrity Management, gave a presentation about Intertek, explaining the business and the services it provides to a variety of industry sectors including the Defence Industry. He also explained the importance of the quality standards of welding and the consequences of failing to reach these standards.

A variety of methods used in testing welding sample were demonstrated and the students were shown both good and poor examples.

St Patrick’s Technical College is South Australia’s only school selected to be part of the Australian Government’s P-TECH program. P-TECH aims to bring real-life skills to youth while focusing on science, technology, engineering and maths subjects and encouraging innovation. It is unique as it brings industry partners into the class room in partnership with educators.


Students blown away by wind farm

Energy. How much there is generated and where it comes from are a hot button topics for every South Australian at the moment.

Students from St Patrick’s Technical College were lucky enough to answer some of those questions on a field trip to AGL’s Hallett Hill Wind Farm recently to see energy in action.

More than 30 Electrotechnology students from Y11 and Y12 made the two hour bus trip north to Burra to take a closer look at wind energy thanks to AGL.

Y11ElectroHosted by AGL’s Asset Performance Analyst – Wind and Solar, Stuart Whiting and Vestas Australian Wind Technology’s, Hugh Cameron, site supervisor Hallett Hill, the students were given a tour of the internal base of a Suzlon Model S88 wind turbine.

Awed by the size of the turbines, Y12 student Conor Griffiths said he’d never been that close to a wind turbine before. “The overall size was overwhelming,’’ Connor said.

The students also made a visit to the information centre at Burra where Mr Whiting discussed where and why wind farms were located and how the farms were designed and planned. Students were also given an overview of the types of roles and skills needed to run a wind farm and the part the farms play in power production for the state.

Teacher Mr Michael Haddad said the students have been studying renewable energies as part of their classroom work and the field trip gave them insight into the industry, the technology and also employment options for their future.

Y12 student Isaac Brown said, “I learnt more about renewable energy that I didn’t know.”

“It was good to see what we learnt about in class being used in the real world.’’

Following the visit, St Patrick’s Technical College released an interim report that tracks past students pathways to employment. The report showed that 93 per cent of graduates will go on to complete an apprenticeship.

Business Development Manager for St Patrick’s Technical College, Mr Patrick Kelly, said industry site visits like the AGL tour were important to help give students in-class learning context. It also clearly shows students career outcomes they could achieve through apprenticeships and learning a skilled trade.

The interim report also showed that 99 per cent of respondents were employed following their graduation for St Patrick’s Technical College, which is located in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.


P-TECH Industry Launch

Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education & Training, will launch South Australia’s first P-TECH School in northern Adelaide as part of the Australian Government’s expansion of it’s innovation and science agenda.

St Patrick’s Technical College, in partnership with the Defence Teaming Centre, will become South Australia’s first P-TECH school in 2017, part of a $4.3 million initiative.


The launch event will include a P-TECH Q&A panel presentation with representatives from the DTCSkilling Australia Foundation and Australia’s first P-TECH Pilot Schools in Geelong and Ballarat. Q&A panelists include:

> Jade Moffat – Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs Manager, IBM Australia
> Steve Davies – Client Innovation Centre Lead, IBM Australia
> Kerryn Smith – Acting CEO, Defence Teaming Centre
> Janet Searle – Partnerships Manager, Skilling Australia Foundation

The P-TECH Industry Launch is your opportunity to learn more about this $4.3 million initiative, the benefits for local industry and how local employers can be directly involved from the very start of the program. The event is held in conjunction with St Patrick’s Technical College’s annual National Skills Week Business Lunch.

The first P-TECH school was established in the US by IBM in 2011 in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education, The City University of New York, and the New York City College of Technology. The first two Australian pilot sites in Ballarat and Geelong commenced in January 2016.


AGL Hallett windfarm visit

Today our Year 12 Electrotechnology students, accompanied by Mr Michael Haddad and Miss Marija Babic, visited the AGL windfarms at Hallett, just north of Burra, as part of their Workplace Practices and Integrated Learning courses.

Wind2In the lead up to the event, students learnt about different types of power generation and the benefits associated with renewable energy to individuals and the wider community. A focus on wind power within Workplace Practices has enabled students to develop an understanding of how the power source is generated and the impacts on the environment and economy in greater South Australia.

The industry visit included a session at the AGL Information Centre in Burra and a tour of the Hallett Stage 2 site with staff flown in especially to guide us. Many thanks to AGL for allowing Ian, an engineer from Melbourne and Helena, Manager of Community Engagement, together with Anita, PA to the Managing Director of AGL from Sydney who joined us. Naomi, based at AGL Burra and Josh, the Electrician from Vestas on the Hallett Stage 2 site, all accompanied the students and staff for a tour of the sub-station, control room and storage facilities. We were even treated to a look inside a turbine on a site boasting more than 35 of the ‘gentle giants’ scattered across the landscape.

Ian spoke to the students about the history of windfarms in Australia, energy consumption and the wind industry on a global scale. He spoke about the different components of a turbine and some of the engineering aspects involved – this together with information from Helena about the South Australian sites and growing sites in New South Wales and Victoria ensured students became aware of just how quickly this segment of the industry is growing and the rate at which it will continue to develop in the future.

Wind3At the substation, Josh spoke to students about the data collection and monitoring of the turbines. He spoke at length with students about the safety precautions involved with working on a turbine, and the physical pressure the electricians and fitters and turners are under when maintenance needs to be performed. He also explained how materials and tools are hoisted to the top, ensuring the safety of the staff working and integrity of parts being transported.

Rich learning experiences such as these allow our students the opportunity to meet with industry leaders and organisations to learn more about their own focus industry. It also allows students to be exposed to environments and employment types in an ever changing industry. By learning outside the classroom environment, students are even more prepared for the world of work and life after their schooling at StPatsTech.

Many thanks to AGL and Vestas, in particular Naomi together with Josh, Ian, Helena and Anita for their time, effort and expertise in helping coordinate our visit and for sharing their knowledge and experiences.

Marija Babic
Workplace Practices Teacher
Year 12 Electrotechnology


ASC #1 apprentice

St Patrick’s Technical College Class of 2011 graduate, Jack Donaldson, has been awarded the Alan Saunders prize as Apprentice of the Year at ASC this week. Jack’s achievement was reported in The Advertiser Business Daily feature on Thursday 31 March. Jack graduated from the College’s Metals & Engineering program and has undertaken his apprenticeship as a metal fabricator with the Osborne shipbuilder.

Read The Advertiser story >

Jack is one of over 20 St Patrick’s Technical College students and graduates who have commenced apprenticeships at ASC Shipbuilding since 2010. At one point, a quarter of the apprentice intake at Osborne were products of StPatsTech including the shipbuilders first female electrical apprentice, Anika Williams, in 2011.


700 Apprentices

This morning St Patrick’s Technical College reached a significant milestone with the signing of our 700th apprentice. Jared Kirby, 18, of Blakeview, will carry the #700 as a school-based Electronics Technician apprentice with Australian Industry Group Apprentice & Trainee Centre, hosted at BAE Systems Australia. Joining Jared at AI Group / BAE Systems is StPatsTech #701, Rhys Ferrari, 17, of Golden Grove, also signed this morning into the same school-based apprenticeship program.

“Our 700th apprenticeship commencement is a milestone of which we are enormously proud,” remarked St Patrick’s Technical College Principal, Mr Rob Thomas.

“Now in our tenth year of operations, this figure represents around two-thirds of all students who have attended commencing work whilst still enrolled at our specialist senior secondary technical and trade training school.”

“Employers such as AI Group Apprentice & Trainee Centre, working with BAE Systems, have been strong supporters of our award-winning program since 2007. Successful outcomes like today’s for Jared and Rhys are only possible through the close partnerships our school has been able to develop with local employers such as these.”

Learning on Monday that Rhys and Jared had both been successful in their application for, what was initially, one position available at BAE Systems, the College was faced with something of a quandary as to who would be recorded as #700!

College Business Development Manager, Mr Patrick Kelly, arrived at the solution with an interesting sub-plot.

“After receiving advice of our 699th apprentice in early March, we were aware that the next commencement was to be number 700,” commented Mr Kelly.

“We decided that the fairest and most transparent way to resolve this was by the toss of a coin.  We had no hesitation as to who should take on the responsibility and on Wednesday afternoon entrusted the task to StPatsTech Electronics teacher/trainer, and former BAE Systems employee, Mr Michael Gauci.”

View the video of the coin toss at our Facebook page >

Although Jared won the toss to be acknowledged as #700, Rhys did get to keep the $1 coin!

Mr Gauci worked at BAE Systems for 24 years completing his apprenticeship there as an Electronics Technician himself in 1989, going on to a career as an Electronics Engineer. After achieving his teaching qualification in 2014 and having undertaken practical teaching stints at St Patrick’s Technical College as part of his course, Michael joined the StPatsTech team following his graduation.

Michael’s knowledge and employment experience are typical of the teaching staff that have been assembled at St Patrick’s over the years.  The real-life experiences, advice and guidance this provides to students has undoubtedly assisted many hundreds of StPatsTech students, like Jared and Rhys, to gain employment in their chosen fields.

Rhys and Jared undertook a Certificate II in Electronics with Mr Gauci as the core component of their Year 11 program in 2015 and had commenced their Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Career Start) as their Year 12 focus this year with electrician and qualified teacher, Ms Linda Burton.  Both pre-vocational qualifications are delivered as part of the College’s unique cooperative agreement with TAFE SA.  This involves a VISA agreement for the Electronics qualification and delivery under the state’s only Work Ready sub-contract for Electrotechnology.

Employment outcomes such as today’s 700th, are the result of St Patrick’s Technical College’s unique combination of a trade-focused SACE curriculum, the pre-vocational training program developed in partnership with TAFE SA, our dedicated staff team and the significant input and support from local industry.

Not to mention outstanding young people such as Jared and Rhys! Congratulations boys.