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New College Principal

St Patrick’s Technical College has announced a change of leadership after more than a decade under the helm of foundation principal, Mr Rob Thomas.

Mr Danny Deptula will take over as principal from Mr Thomas from January 2018. Mr Deptula’s appointment was announced to staff by Catholic Education SA at the Edinburgh North campus this week.

Mr Deptula said he was excited to take on the leadership role and would be building on the positive work done by the College over the past decade.

“I’m looking forward to working with the staff and school community to help change the lives of young people in the north,’’ Mr Deptula said.

“I’ve been working in northern Adelaide area for the last 20 years and I’m passionate about ensuring the region’s young people have the same opportunities as students throughout the state.’’

Mr Deptula’s role as deputy principal at Thomas More College has seen him expand the school’s VET program over the past few years. He said stepping up to principal in a specialist technical vocational education and training school was an exciting opportunity to further his knowledge and he was looking forward to working with the College’s board, staff, stakeholders and business and training partners.

Dr Neil McGoran, Director of Catholic Education South Australia, said Mr Deptula was an experienced educational leader, having undertaken various leadership roles within Catholic Education SA throughout his career.

“He has a deep personal faith, a strong commitment to providing flexible learning pathways and improving learning outcomes for all students,’’ Dr McGoran said.

“Danny brings to the position, energy, enthusiasm and high expectations for ensuring excellence in teaching and learning. I am confident that his personal and professional qualities, skills and knowledge will be an asset to the leadership of St Patrick’s Technical College.”

Mr Thomas also welcomed the news, congratulating Mr Deptula who he described as “a long-time friend to the StPatsTech community’’.

“In his role at Thomas More, Danny has actively promoted to students and families the benefits of the pathway to employment offered by programs at St Patrick’s.”

As StPatsTech foundation principal, Mr Thomas has overseen the development of the specialist technical and trade training school since its establishment in 2006 as the Australian Technical College – Northern Adelaide. During his tenure over 800 students have gained apprenticeships and the College has drawn acclaim for its success from across government, industry, employers and the education and training sector.

An educator with more than 40 years’ experience, Mr Thomas announced at the start of 2017 that he would be retiring at year’s end. He said he would miss the school, staff, students and College community but was proud of what had been achieved in the past decade.

Mr Deptula is married with two sons and brings to his new position 23 years of teaching and educational leadership experience.


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.


10 Questions

10 questions to consider for your child’s senior secondary schooling…

What is the outcome of a StPatsTech education?
More than 800 of our past students began an apprenticeship during their time at the College and 94% are still in or have completed their training. Other students have moved straight into work or onto further studies with our TAFE SA direct entry program, while a small number choose to go on to university. Nearly 100% of past students report they are currently in employment.

Does the school have a particular philosophy or mission?
Jobs are our thing. Our focus is not on ATAR scores or pressuring students to gain a university place. We recognise that not everyone wants or needs to attend university to have a fulfilling career. Our mission is to create well-rounded young people who are ready for the working world. This means our students study maths and science which is applicable to their trade or technical area. This practical approach means students are able to better comprehend complex ideas and see how and why they work in the real-world.

Will StPatsTech prepare my child for a career?
Yes. We won’t hand your child an apprenticeship but we will treat them like a young adult and teach them appropriate workplace behaviours and practices. Our state-of-the-art workshops and facilities mean our students know their way around the work environment and are confident with employers during work experience placements. We also know that sometimes things change. Once you have been exposed to range of potential career choices in a real, hands-on way, you might change your mind about your future – and that’s okay. You can change your course to suit your abilities and passions. And if you decide on a career that requires further education, including a university degree, then we’ll make sure you have the correct entrance requirements as well.

Does the College meet my child’s basic education needs?
Yes and more. Not only will your child complete their SACE they will concurrently study a TAFE SA Certificate II or IV (depending on their chosen stream). If a student secures a School-based Apprenticeship they transfer into a Certificate III course as part of their trade. This means these students can complete Year 12 and the first year of their apprenticeship at the same time. Th they graduate from school straight into full-time employment in the second year of their apprenticeship.

What support will the College offer my child?
Many of our teachers come from a trade or technical background and we have strong links to industry and employers. We actively promote job opportunities to students and our staff passionately want to see the students succeed. We are a Catholic Secondary School and offer strong pastoral care – providing mentoring and support to all of our students. Our extensive Work Ready Skills program means students leave the College well-prepared for the adult world of work.

What is the application process like?
It’s pretty straightforward. Download an Application for Enrolment from our website, complete and return to the College. Your child will be asked to complete an aptitude test and attend an interview with at least one paretn / guardian. The earlier you lodge your application, the better chance you have at securing your position in your first-preference course.

How many hours of homework are expected of students?
Our homework standards are not laborious as students are putting their classroom theory directly into practice in our fully-equipped workshops. There are compulsory areas of the SACE curriculum which will require some at-home work, but on the whole we cover most of the students’ learning here at the College. Just like an employee, they are required to give their focus to their work during school hours but we do not expect them to do large amounts of homework – in fact, we’d rather they are working part-time or engaging in sporting pursuits or hobbies in their free time.

What are the extra-curricular opportunities available?
We are not your regular school with sports teams and swimming carnivals. Instead we offer students a much more exciting program. Regular site visits to industry are a big part of preparing students for work. We also have footy and soccer teams which compete against other schools in the state knock-out carnivals. Students can travel to England where they are exposed to global industries such as Rolls Royce and JCB. A Cambodian Pilgrimage sees students put their trade skills to work in disadvantaged communities. On top of that, students are encourage to help others through a number of events such as cooking food for Fred’s Van at Elizabeth Vinnies, attending a local aged care home to do beauty treatments for residents, and sewing quilts for women in crisis accommodation.

Who will be teaching my child?
We are proud to have a strong mix of traditional teachers who teach core skills subjects and tradesmen and women who take on the trade and technical training. Our trade and technical trainers have followed the path that many of our students are just beginning and are a great example that Technical Vocational Education & Training (TVET) can open so many doors in a career. Our teachers’ strong industry links and knowledge means our students are better prepared for work.

Who will my child be socialising with?
Our students come from far and wide. We consider the slate clean when they arrive here at StPatsTech which means students can be themselves and meet new friends. While they must leave their current school to enrol with us, everyone is in the same boat. We have students with a passion for a particular career and others who are here to try and find their potential. Your child will be at school with aspiring chefs and hairdressers, mechanics and welders, plumbers and sparkies, chippies and computer programmers.


Happy Father’s Day

Wishing all the Dad’s associated with #stpatstech a very happy Fathers’ Day.

Dads are one of our earliest role models and influences. They shape the adults we become through their love, guidance and terrible taste in humour.

Here at #stpatstech we are privileged to see many great father/child relationships in action just like Brett Moseley and his son Declan. Declan is a StPatsTech School-based Apprentice and it was his time spent in his father’s workshop at Northside Sheetmetal that lead him to work in the metals engineering industry.

“I used to work for dad in the school holidays and enjoyed doing this type of work,” Declan said.

Brett said it was a mutual decision for Declan to seek his trade with another local business, to enable him to spread his wings, but he may return to the family business down the track.
Declan is a first year apprentice boilermaker with Weldfab Engineering at Edinburgh North.

Another big influence Brett has had on his children (including Connor, 16) was passing on his passion for motorsport. As vice president of the FPV & XR Car Club – SA, Brett said his love of Fords has seen Declan join the club and put much of his hard-earned wages towards his XR6 Falcon.

As a tradesman himself, Brett said he was pleased to see Declan secure an apprenticeship.

A trade career has enabled Brett to own his own successful sheet metal business, employing 10 people, buy a family home, raise a family and travel both nationally and internationally regularly. His wife Robyn also works in the business, taking care of the books and “everything else” to do with the family.

#happyfathersday #dadsrock


A motorsport dream come true

We are ending National Skills Week with a success story from the College. Jesse Noort fell in love with motorsport as a young teenager and knew she wanted to be part of the high-octane action one day. She was able to do just that thanks to securing a School-based Apprenticeship while at St Patrick’s Technical College.

“When I was in year eight my mum and dad took me to Clipsal and I loved the action, the environment, the high adrenaline. I just fell absolutely in love with it. As soon as I experienced it, I knew that is what I wanted to do,’’ Jesse said.

With a clear focus on her goal, Jesse was among the first students to complete their Year 12 from #StPatsTech’s $15 million purpose built facility in Edinburgh North. Studying the automotive stream at the College, Jesse was able to secure an apprenticeship with the MTA Group Training Scheme in 2009.

Her enthusiasm saw her apprenticeship fast-tracked, with her being signed off an impressive 14 months early.

As soon as she had her qualifications, she got herself onto the Brad Jones Racing team on the V8 Supercar circuit. She travelled around the country firstly as second mechanic and later in the sub-assembly area.

“I still can’t believe how much I did during my time with the Brad Jones Racing. In my first two weeks we built a whole new car. It was an awesome experience,’’ Jesse said.

Now 25, Jesse returned to Adelaide after her time with Brad Jones Racing and took a sales role with Repco.

An Automotive Parts Interpreter at Repco Modbury, Jesse is the first point of contact for industry when searching for parts. She also handles general public sales.

“I basically help mechanics get the right part at the right time. My job is to help industry get the parts they are after, and there’s so much terminology around all the different parts I really like being able to identify what they need.’’

StPatsTech teacher, Bruce Hall, was Jesse’s teacher in 2008 and was delighted to recently catch up with his former student.

“Jesse is certainly one of our success stories,’’ Mr Hall said. “She had her head screwed on and new what path she wanted to follow and saw that through to the end. It is awesome to see how our former students have flourished. It’s really rewarding.

“Having a trade behind you really opens up so many different career pathways, and some students may not be aware of.’’

Jesse recently got engaged and bought her first home in the northern suburbs. She plans to start a family in the short-term and is saving for a trip to Disneyland.


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.


StPatsTech – A Grand Design

For architect, Peter Moeck, designing a successful building is more about the outcomes for the people inhabiting that space than awards and praise.

Peter, who has been St Patrick’s Technical College’s architect since before a site for the school was even selected, recently returned to the college to oversee its new $120,000, 150-square-metre extension. The expansion will provide more space for the School of Building & Construction, in particular for wet trade specialities.

A specialist in educational architecture, Peter said when StPatsTech (then known as the Australian Technical College – Northern Adelaide) was being designed, modular systems were hugely popular for schools. However, not a fan of the modular model, Peter said he was happy when the project partners agreed StPatsTech should be a purpose-built facility.

“You have got to purpose-build because the results are enduring and robust,’’ he said.

“Of the three technical colleges in South Australia, and all were different – this (StPatsTech) was the only one that was purpose-built. There were some big picture decisions which went down the sustainable pathway and they were purpose-built so the outcome has been a hundred times better and so much more cost effective.’’

Peter said the brief for the design was to produce a campus that was sympathetic to its industrial surroundings but to be contemporary and comfortable, have the maximum floor space, be highly functional and be cost effective.

He said his favourite part of the campus is the large 64 metre long, three metre high rusted steel screen which runs the length of the Hooke Road side of the campus. The screen was made in consultation with the College’s Operations Manager, Greg Collins, and Groundplay’s Gregg Mitchell and Greg Healey. It features laser cut patterns as well as galvanised steel industrial symbols to represent the College’s programs.

“That vista had to say ‘vocational experience’ and capture the five original trades. It is an iconic statement,’’ Peter said.

“It breaks the mould a bit without stating the bleeding obvious and it’s a little bit quirky.”

Since completion of the campus in 2007, Peter has returned to the College to design additions and extensions such as the science pods, new learning spaces and a reconfiguration of the library.

“There is still a core group of people who have been with StPatsTech since the beginning that gives a connectivity to this place.’’

Peter said he enjoyed building those working relationships with the staff but overwhelmingly the most pride he felt for the project came from seeing the spaces used for their purpose and the success stories which come from the College.

“There is a pride there but the pride doesn’t come from ‘it’s a great building’, it comes from what’s happening in that building,’’ Peter said.

“When the school produced its Interim report and hearing from the South Australian Apprentice of the Year, Jack Donaldson, who attended the school, that really resonates with me. I feel like I’ve been involved in something bigger than just a building.’’

The project, which was done while Peter was at architecture firm Brown Falconer, has received a number of awards including the Architecture Award for Public Architecture, a Commendation for Collaborative Design and the Colorbond Award for Excellence in Steel Architecture from the Australian Institute of Architects SA Chapter in 2009.

Peter is a Registered Architect in SA. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and the Past Chair of the Association for Learning Environments SA Chapter Australasia Region.

Peter received the inaugural Robert Denyer Cheesman Award for Best Practice in Architecture 2013 from the Architectural Practice Board of SA on 29 January 2014. The award recognises that architecture is for and about people, and that long term relationships based on trust and rapport have immense value.

Picture 11b

Cambodia pilgrimage 2017

St Patrick’s Technical College students and staff will travel to Cambodia in September 2017 to learn new skills and share their knowledge to help build stronger communities.

Picture 12bWith the help of the Rotary Club of Elizabeth, 14 students and three teachers will spend ten days in Cambodia’s Siem Reap area helping to improve the lives of local school students. Elizabeth Rotary has kindly donated $5000 to financially assist a number of students to take part in the trip.

The 2017 trip will include two projects:

The major project will see students and staff undertake a construction project. This will use the skills the technical college students have learnt while in the school’s workshops in northern Adelaide and apply them to help a school in Cambodia. The students will also be asked to teach the local students many of the construction skills to ensure the project can be maintained for the long-term. This year the students will build on the work they did in 2016, which saw 800m of water pipe laid from the local well to the school, by helping to bring water to the community market.

Picture 2bThe second project will see the school create book packs, buy uniforms and purchase bicycles for students of a remote school. Without these things, students cannot attend the government school. StPatsTech hopes to ease the burden on the local families by buying books, stationery, uniforms and bicycles so remote students can more easily access school each day.

The College has launched a GoFundMe page which will raise money that will go directly towards construction material and school needs of Cambodian children. StPatsTech will purchase the goods in-country to reduce shipping costs and support the local economy and encourage those who are able to donate via the GoFundMe page.

The journey to Cambodia embodies the St Patrick’s Technical College belief of Faith in Action. Passing on and sharing skills to ensure projects are successful for a lifetime, is an important part of this work by StPatsTech.


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.