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School holidays = work experiences

While other teenagers might spend their holidays at home with their feet up, 94 per cent of students from St Patrick’s Technical College in Adelaide’s north will be getting their foot in the workplace door.

The College’s Term One Work Experience program has been its most successful in the 10 years since the school opened its doors.

Over the next three weeks, more than 164 students from years 11 and 12 will take part in work experience across Adelaide. The students will be involved in a wide variety of industries from hair and beauty, construction, electrical, plumbing, automotive, metalwork and the food industry.

College Principal Rob Thomas described the numbers of students undertaking work experience as “outstanding”.

“It’s a great opportunity to go out into the workforce to learn about the workplace, about bosses and what’s required of employees. It also establishes networks that may lead them onto future employment,” Mr Thomas said.

“I’m very pleased by the fact that almost every student at the school has got work experience.’’

StPatsTech’s unique approach to education sees it place the employability of its students as top priority. This means the school requires students to undertake at least six weeks work experience each year.

The last week of the term is given over fully to work experience, but Mr Thomas said some students would continue their work experience into their school holidays.

While the full-time students go out to experience work, the College’s School-based Apprentices (SbAT) returned to complete competencies towards their SACE. The SbAT students spend up to 40 weeks a year with their employer and return to the college for six weeks to finalise their SACE.

The SbATs also heard from Old Scholar and 2016 South Australian Apprentice of the Year, Jack Donaldson, who spoke to them about nominating for the SA Training Awards 2017. StPatsTech has a number of students who have nominated for the awards and who received mentoring from Jack.

The end of the term caps off a successful start to 2017 for StPatsTech. In March the college launched its 10th anniversary celebrations with the release of an interim report tracking some of the more than 1400 past students. The report showed that of those students who started an apprenticeship, 93 per cent went onto to complete the certificate and 99 per cent of past students were in employment.

St Patrick’s Technical College is a $15 million purpose-built facility in Edinburgh North and runs courses in three schools: the School of Building and Construction; the School of Community Services, Hospitality and Lifestyle; and the School of Engineering and Transport.

For more information please contact StPatsTech communications officer Hayley Odgers on 8209 3709 or

First Australian P8 Rollout Event

StPatsTech welcomes Boeing arrival

St Patrick’s Technical College has welcomed news that Boeing will be locating a hub in Adelaide and employing 250 people over the next five years.

StPatsTech’s Business Development Manager Patrick Kelly said seeing another big player in the Defence industries enter the Adelaide market was exciting for pre-vocational training schools.

PMB3Ahead of a major announcement in partnership with Saab Australia, Mr Kelly said schools like StPatsTech are playing an important role in providing training programs that match current and future labour market needs. The school’s recent inclusion in the Australian Government’s P-TECH program and its work with the South Australian Government’s Advanced Technology Project, has seen a strong focus on science, technology, engineering and maths skills of students.

“We are bridging the gap that industry says isn’t being filled by university-level training. There is a space to be filled by skilled, well-trained workers who can think innovatively,’’ Mr Kelly said.

“We are seeing, in many fields, diploma and advanced diploma level skills are needed for the hands-on work of business.”

Mr Kelly said he hoped companies like Boeing would follow the example of Saab Australia, PMB Defence and Century Engineering to partner with schools to ensure the industry needs and workers’ skills match-up to create a vibrant future jobs market in Adelaide.

“We really commend our partners – Saab Australia, PMB Defence and Century Engineering, for their foresight in partnering with schools like StPatsTech. It not only gives our students access to great training and learning new skills, but is a huge advantage to the Adelaide economy in ensuring our young people are employable for the coming decades.’’

century2StPatsTech is located in Edinburgh North and specialises in teaching years 11 and 12 students who are seeking a trade or apprenticeship after school. The College’s successful pre-vocational training program means students graduate with their SACE and a Certificate II in their chosen trades. The school is also well-known for its School-based Apprenticeship program, which enables students to complete their first year of an apprenticeship while also completing their SACE.

As a specialist school, StPatsTech tailors classes and teaching to ensure students do not miss out on core literacy and numeracy subjects while gaining valuable work experiences. Its strong industry links and partnership with TAFE SA means students leave StPatsTech prepared to enter the workforce or go onto further study.


Prepared for work

St Patrick’s Technical College students buck trend in youth employment

Adelaide high school, St Patrick’s Technical College, is a shining example of empowering young people thanks to its education model that sees an unemployment rate of past students of just one per cent.

Responding to two national reports released today (the Mitchell Institute Preparing Young People for the Future of Work report and the Brotherhood of St Laurence Generation Stalled report), St Patrick’s Technical College business development manager Patrick Kelly said the college was proof that investing in students’  employability – and not university entrance numbers – could lead more work-ready and successful youth.

StPatsTech is bucking the trends mentioned in both reports – high youth unemployment and students not coming out with the skills to enter the modern workforce. The college recently released an interim report that tracks past students and it shows the past student unemployment rate is just one per cent. Three out of five students from the college will commence an apprenticeship with 93 per cent going onto complete their training. Of the respondents, 16 per cent were self-employed and many reported they stayed in the northern Adelaide area.

Mr Kelly said while a full report would come out later this year, the college firmly believed its success was down to a holistic approach to education.

Mr Kelly said the college was already doing many of the recommendations to come out of the Mitchell Institute report, such as building students’ capabilities, valuing vocational education, and supporting students with career advice and mentoring.

“I welcome the Mitchell Institute report and encourage the authors to take a closer look at what we are doing here at St Patrick’s Technical College. We are the realisation of their ideal outcomes to improve employment outcomes for our youth,’’ Mr Kelly said.

“Our whole focus here at St Patrick’s Technical College is to produce a productive, valued and skilled worker. We don’t pressure our students with what number they need to attain by the end of year 12 in order to get into university because not everyone is suited nor wants to pursue a university level education. And for those students who through year 11 and 12 do decide they would like to go onto tertiary education, they are able to do that from our school as well.’’

Mr Kelly said he welcomed the report’s comment that high quality VET systems are essential to ensure the country has the skilled workforce needed for the 21st century.

“The report says ‘A university education is not a good fit for all young people, and not necessary for all jobs’, that is something we at StPatsTech have been saying for the past decade,’’ Mr Kelly said.

“Yet we still find many high schools will not promote or encourage schools like ours to take on students who could be thriving under our guidance. We hope reports like the Mitchell Institute’s will help change attitudes.’’

The Brotherhood of St Laurence report showed that as of February 2017, 282,000 young people were unemployed and 377,000 were underemployed. This, the report says, means the youth unemployment rate it at its highest in almost 40 years.

Reasons why StPatsTech is a success:

  • Students achieve their SACE while concurrently studying a TAFE SA Certificate II in their chosen trade.
  • Work Ready Skills program that focusses on developing students’ self-management, communication, planning and organisation, problem-solving, teamwork.
  • One of the most comprehensive School-based Apprentice Programs. SbAT students can spend as little as six weeks at school while undertaking their first year of an apprenticeship. These students finish year 12 with their SACE and a job.
  • More than 400 local employers – from small businesses to multi-nationals – have partnerships with the college.
  • Guaranteed place at TAFE SA following the successful completion of year 12 and the Cert II
  • P-TECH school – in November 2016 St Patrick’s Technical College was announced as the only SA school to be included in this Australian Government pilot program. P-TECH aims to ensure future generations of young Australians have the skills to equip them for the 21st century workforce through partnerships with education, industry and community. There is a strong focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and development innovative, engaged thinkers.
  • Extensive work experience program – students are encouraged to undertake at least six weeks’ of work experience per year. This has led to many of our students securing apprenticeships and employment following graduation.

St Patrick’s Technical College is a $15 million purpose-built facility in Edinburgh North and runs courses in three schools: the School of Building and Construction; the School of Community Services, Hospitality and Lifestyle; and the School of Engineering and Transport.

For more information or to speak with Mr Kelly please contact StPatsTech communications officer Hayley Odgers on 8209 3709 or

Copies of the interim report are available on request.


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.


Women in STEM – IWD 2017

To prepare for the world beyond school, students at St Patrick’s Technical College will commence P-TECH courses focused on Electrotechnology and Engineering (Production Technology) this year. Students will take part in a range of industry supported learning experiences and Cross Disciplinary Studies that will extend their education beyond traditional classroom exercises.

The P-TECH program includes opportunities to connect and build relationships with industry partners, and engage in hands-on, project-based activities, both at school and in the workplace. These experiences will help students to better understand the relevance of their learning and how it can be applied in the workplace.

Last week, on International Women’s Day (IWD), female students of St Patrick’s Technical College hosted a luncheon with the theme for IWD 2017 “Be Bold for Change”. The event had a strong focus on Women in STEM. Guest speakers included Dr Rebecca Heyer and Mrs Linda Burton.

Dr Rebecca Heyar joined the Defence Science and Technology Group (formerly DSTO) in 1999 and is currently a Discipline Leader in the Intelligence Analytics Branch. Throughout her talk, Rebecca encouraged students to make the most of new opportunities. “Move around: get out of your comfort zone, even if it’s only for a little while. The lessons you learn can be applied wherever you head next” she said.

Rebecca holds degrees in Health Sciences and Science (with Honours) and postgraduate qualifications in Criminology, Mathematics & Statistics, Scientific Leadership, and Psychology. She offered sound advice to students who are unsure of their desired career path. “Don’t be pressured into taking a particular path and don’t limit your choices if you don’t know what you want to do. Generalist studies can enable you to find your niche while trying a wide range of new and interesting things” she said.

During her time with DST Group, Rebecca has worked in the fields of multinational experimentation and wargaming, social network analysis, whole-of-government crisis management, and human identification technology for Defence, intelligence, and national security clients.

Linda Burton, Maths and Electrotechnology Teacher at St Patrick’s Technical College gave a very open, honest and heart wrenching presentation about the challenges during her life, particularly around domestic violence and how she overcame adversity.

Linda left school early without completing year 12 and then returned school to complete her SACE as an adult. She had a passion for science and wanted to go to university. Linda established a career as a Viticulture Biologist after completing a Science degree (whilst raising her son who is now 25 years old). She went on to later fulfill her long life dream of completing an electrical apprenticeship (as a mature age apprentice), winning awards at both a state and national level.

Following this, she had a second child (now 6 years old) and has continued her passion for teaching and tutoring young people. Linda previously completed her TAE and worked as a trainer in an RTO in particular to Electro-technology school students undertaking a VET programs all whilst studying her teaching degree.

Linda also owns a successful electrical contracting business with her husband in Northern Adelaide who employ and train their own apprentices. Teaching at St Pat’s provides Linda with the work/life balance to raise her young daughter and work within the family business.

Both Rebecca and Linda stressed that their learning and education has never stopped and has contributed to their success. “Commit to lifelong learning to broaden your horizons and find an employer that will support you in this” offered Rebecca.

The P-TECH pilot is supported by the Australian Government, which has engaged the Skilling Australia Foundation to manage the program. The P-TECH pilot at St Patrick’s is supported by the local community and the Catholic Diocese South Australia.


A message from the Archdiocese of Adelaide

February 7, 2017

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

4353-210x210On behalf of Archbishop Wilson and myself, I write to you as the final hearing involving the Catholic Church at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse unfolds.

Our first thoughts go to those who are the victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. The terrible memories of abuse at the hands of priests and religious they trusted impact their lives forever, and through these weeks those memories will once again be re-lived. There are no words sufficient to express our sorrow for the suffering those children experienced within our Church. We also recognise and feel deep sorrow for the ongoing suffering of parents, families, friends and partners of those who were abused.

To the extent that I can, I offer my apology on behalf of the Catholic Church to all those who suffered directly or indirectly as a result of abuse within the Church. As Pope Francis said recently, ‘it is a sin that shames us’.

I promise we will leave no stone unturned in our effort to make our Church in Adelaide safe for children, and to ensure that they will never be at risk of abuse in the future.

I know that this is also a difficult time for all of you in the Church who share the sorrow, outrage and shame of hurt to children. The evidence presented during the Royal Commission hearings will be distressing and confronting. The Royal Commission’s statistics and analysis of the extent of abuse will be made public as the Royal Commission reviews the evidence it has already received and seeks to understand why and how this tragedy has occurred.

Many of our Bishops and other Catholic leaders will appear before the Royal Commission to explain how the Church has sought to change the culture that allowed abuse occur and to continue, and to put in place new policies, structures and protections to safeguard children and vulnerable persons.

Pope Francis has urged the whole Church to, ‘find the courage needed to take all necessary measures and to protect in every way the lives of our children, so that such crimes may never be repeated’. In the Archdiocese of Adelaide we have pursued these safeguarding goals with energy and vigour for the last 15 years, building on the procedures that were authorised by the Bishops and Religious Leaders in 1996. We are fully committed to the Holy Father’s call for Zero Tolerance on Child Sexual Abuse when he said: “Let us find the courage needed to take all necessary measures and to protect in every way the lives of our children, so that such crimes may never be repeated.”

Throughout the coming weeks, I ask you to join with me in prayer as we turn to Jesus, who in his own life expressed such protective tenderness towards children. Let us pray that all children everywhere may experience that same protective respect and tenderness from us. This has been a terrible darkness, let us choose to be light for all, especially children and all who are vulnerable.

With fraternal greetings in Christ who is our light,

Rev Fr Philip Marshall
Vicar General

A copy of this letter can be downloaded here >


Open Day | Sunday 19 March

Come and discover why joining St Patrick’s Technical College in Year 11 is the best option to give you the head start you want in a trades and technical career!


You can join StPatsTech in Y11, 2018 and study specialist trade theory subjects alongside a Certificate II technical qualification. By the end of Y12 you can be part way through the first year of an apprenticeship at the same time as completing your SACE.

When: Sunday 19 March, 12:00 – 4:00pm
Where: St Patrick’s Technical College, Edinburgh North Smart Industries Precinct

Open Day will showcase the trades and technical career pathways we offer in seven specialist programs:

Through our large industry network we can connect you with employment opportunites in all these areas across northern Adelaide, the metroplitan area and the rest of South Australia.

In the past 10 years, over 760 students have started their careers through apprenticeships at St Patrick’s Technical College while finishing Y12. That’s two out of every three students who have joined us!

Open Day is the opportunity for prospective students and families to:

  • Meet College Principal, Mr Rob Thomas, at the Welcome & Information Briefing (1:00pm)
  • Try our interactive displays and worshop activities
  • Sample the culinary work of our student chefs
  • Tour the $15 million purpose-built facility complete with engineering, automotive and construction workshops, commercial kitchen, computer-aided design (CAD) studios and rapid prototyping equipment
  • Discuss details of the College’s programs with our industry experienced teachers and technical trainers as well as current students and graduates
  • Discover pathways to further education and training via our partnership arrangement with TAFE SA
  • Learn about the College’s involvement in the Australian Government’s $4.3 million P-TECH pilot supporting pathways to employment in South Australia’s growing Defence Industries sector

If you’re in Y10 and looking to give yourself the best chance to get a head start on the career you want, Open Day is a great time to lodge your enrolment papers for 2018. Getting in early ensures you are allocated a place in your first preference course.



Christmas Mass Times

Children’s Mass
Saturday 24 December, 6:30pm
St Thomas More Church, 19 Laverstock Rd, Elizabeth North

Carols & Midnight Mass
Saturday 24 December, 11:30pm (Carols) / 12:00am (Midnight Mass)
St Ann’s Church, 30 Midway Road, Elizabeth East

Christmas Day Masses
Sunday 25 December, 8:30am @ St Ann’s Church, Elizabeth East
Sunday 25 December, 10am @ St Thomas More Church, Elizabeth North


Class of 2016 Graduation Dinner

In front of an audience of over 300 family, friends, staff and industry supporters, the St Patrick’s Technical College Class of 2016 celebrated their graduation at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Friday 18 November.

As well as presenting graduating students with their Certificates of Completion, individual awards were presented as part of the College’s annual Awards Program. A full list of the Class of 2016 Award Winners and supporters is provided below.

The St Patrick’s Technical College Awards is program is valued at close to $10,000 thanks to the generosity and support of our Awards Partners. We are most grateful for their continued support and their commitment to our programs and students.

Guests at the Graduation Dinner were addressed by College Chair, Mrs Tricia Hicks, with a message of encouragement for all graduates to go on exceeding expectations. College Principal, Mr Rob Thomas, used the words of St Teresa of Calcutta to inspire graduates to go out into the world doing good no matter what life holds.

The major award of the night, the Max Davids Award for Apprentice of the Year, went to Electrotechnology student-apprentice, Rhys Ferrari. Rhys, a first year apprentice electronics technician with Ai Group Apprentice & Trainee Centre, hosted at BAE Systems, was a finalist in the SA Training Awards this year where he took out the People’s Choice Award. Rhys also took out Electrotechnology Apprentice of the Year honours.

The Minister for Education & Child Development’s Volunteering Award for Outstanding Service was awarded to the Rotary Club of Elizabeth. This regcognises Rotary’s involvement, over many years, in our student orientation program and their assistance with the alumni economic and social impact study the College is currently undertaking.

Royal Australian Navy Chaplain, Wayne Philp, presented the Long Tan Award for Leadership and Teamwork to Plumbing Student of the Year, Jae McGeorge, who also took home the College Spirit Award.

Electrotechnology student, Zach Vermeeren, added the Principal’s Award for College Student of the Year to the Student of the Year Award for the Electrotechnology program.

The evening concluded with a photographic retrospective of the Class of 2016 and the symbolic passing of the College Candle from Class of 2016 Captain, Nicola Warren, to Class of 2017 Captain, Josh Tassone, who co-compered the night.



Max Davids Award | Apprentice of the Year – presented by Group Training Australia (SA)
> RHYS FERRARI (Ai Group ATC / BAE Systems)

Principal’s Award | Student of the Year – presented by Stratco
> ZACHARY VERMEEREN (Roger Girdham Electrical)

College Spirit Award | Caltex Best Allrounder – presented by Totally Workwear, supported by Leesa Vlahos MP

Minister for Education & Child Development’s Volunteering Award for Outstanding Service – supported by Susan Close MP

Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award – presented by the Australian Defence Forces

Catholic Education SA Technical College Award – presented by Catholic Education SA



Construction | Student of the Year – presented by Training Prospects

Construction | Apprentice of the Year – presented by Adelaide Tools
> ANTONINO BAGNATO (Cavallaro Building & Constructions)

Plumbing | Student of the Year – presented by HIA Apprentices

Plumbing | Apprentice of the Year – presented by the Master Plumbers Association of SA
> KYLE CULLEN (Complete Stormwater Systems)


Food & Hospitality | Student of the Year – presented by Apprenticeship Support Australia

Hair & Beauty | Student of the Year – presented by TAFE SA

Hair & Beauty | Apprentice of the Year – presented by MEGT
> BROOKE McARTHUR (Robins Harris)


Automotive | Student of the Year – presented by the Motor Trade Association

Automotive | Apprentice of the Year – presented by Statewide Group Training
> BRANDON MADDEN-BAKER (Peter Kittle Toyota)

Electrotechnology | Student of the Year – presented by PEER VEET
> ZACHARY VERMEEREN (Roger Girdham Electrical)

Electrotechnology | Apprentice of the Year – presented by Ai Group Apprentice & Trainee Centre
> RHYS FERRARI (Ai Group ATC / BAE Systems)

Metals & Engineering | Apprentice of the Year – presented by the Defence Teaming Centre
> YUSEPH MILLER (Ai Group ATC / Century Engineering)

Metals & Engineering | Apprentice of the Year – presented by Maxima
> MATTHEW LAMBERT (Salisbury Towbars)