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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.


Life changing scholarships

Scholarships can change lives and if you needed more proof of this, look no further than 16 year old, Edwije Pendo, from St Patrick’s Technical College.

Edwije’s enrolment in the College’s Construction program this year was only possible thanks to The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program. This scholarship, aimed at supporting disadvantaged children and youth through education from preschool to tertiary studies, has been a turning point in Edwije’s life and career ambitions.

“The Smith Family gave me a scholarship to enter the school,’’ she said. “This meant that I only had to contribute a small sum of money. If it wasn’t for their support I would have missed out on a life-changing opportunity. The support from The Smith Family meant that I was able to have the best education at the best school.”

Edwije, who arrived in Australia as a five-year-old in 2006 from a Tanzanian refugee camp, hopes to secure a school-based apprenticeship as a first fix carpenter.

With three brothers and five sisters, Edwije’s family struggled financially following their arrival as her father’s building qualifications were not recognised in Australia. When her father stopped working long hours in a local factory to begin full-time studies the family were reliant on Centrelink benefits.

So in 2011, a year after they became Australian citizens, the family joined The Smith Family. Edwije was in the charity’s Student to Student program to help improve her English skills.

“One day a letter came from The Smith Family inviting all Year 10 students to attend a tour and information night at St Patrick’s Technical College. The College presents unique opportunities for students to start a trade and pathways through school-based apprenticeships,’’ she said.

“I thought this was a great opportunity for me to chase my passion.’’

Edwije said her teachers’ encouragement and support in the classroom and workshop had helped build her confidence and inspire her to chase her dreams.

“I really enjoy all the lessons because they are focused on what you want to do and you are not learning irrelevant stuff,’’ she said.

Edwije said being the only girl in her class was not an issue as the students all shared common interests in trade. She hopes to encourage more women to take up roles in male-dominated industries, like carpentry.

“I now feel quite confident entering a workforce that is male-dominated. I feel that it will give me an opportunity to empower and encourage women that stereotypes are barriers that we must learn to overcome.

“I would like to learn the business of carpentry so I will potentially have my own company and employ young people. I want to be able to help the community as it has so generously helped me.’’

For more information about St Patrick’s Technical College’s scholarships contact 8209 3700. For information about The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program contact 8224 1400.


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.


SA budget investment in apprentices

St Patrick’s Technical College has welcomed the South Australian Government’s 2017/18 budget measures to encourage more youth into apprenticeships.

Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis announced an extra $8.1 million over three years for the Jobs Accelerator Grants.

For local small businesses, this could be a great step to putting on a School-based Apprentice. Businesses with payrolls less than $600,000 will be eligible for a grant of $9000 over two years for each new job of 22 hours or more per week.

Businesses with payroll between $600,000 and $5 million will now be eligible for up to $15,000 over two years for each full-time equivalent apprentice. Both packages will be backdated to July 2016.

StPatsTech Principal, Rob Thomas, said the extra $5000 per package would help encourage investment in apprenticeships in the local area.

With approximately 800 Year 11 and 12 StPatsTech students commencing apprenticeships in the past decade, Mr Thomas said the specialist technical and vocational college had introduced innovative programs like P-TECH and new courses to keep abreast of the skills needs in Adelaide industries.

He said the College’s ability to respond the industry skills needs was even more important now with the closure of automotive manufacturing at the Holden plant in the northern suburbs and the emerging Defence and Advanced Manufacturing industries in the region.

“We are very excited to be introducing an Information Technology Certificate IV Programming course in partnership with Saab Australia and TAFE SA for 2018,’’ Mr Thomas said.

“Working collaboratively with industry and having built those relationships over the past 10 years, means StPatsTech is uniquely positioned to respond to addressing the skills gaps across a range of industries.’’

Mr Thomas encouraged the College’s current employer partners and any business considering employing an apprentice, to access the Jobs Accelerator Grants from the South Australian Government.

For more information please contact StPatsTech Communications Officer, Hayley Odgers, on 8209 3709 or


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.

SaabAustralia Facebook

Training the “New Collar” workforce

St Patrick’s Technical College is expanding and will soon be training the computer software engineers of the future as part of a national program which aims to boost the skills of Australia’s youth.

Thanks to a new course at the college, Year 11 and 12 students can now study an industry-level qualification in software development under the guidance of a global Defence industries company.

StPatsTech will introduce a TAFE SA Certificate IV in Programming in 2018 as part of the P-TECH program. Partnering with Saab Australia, students will be given a unique opportunity to learn from one of the Defence industries biggest players and set themselves up for a career that is in high demand. Saab Australia joined other P-TECH partners Century Engineering and PMB Defence to sign a Memorandum of Understanding at the Adelaide Careers and Employment Expo on May 26.

StPatsTech principal Rob Thomas said he believed the College was the first secondary school in South Australia to offer the Certificate IV course to students.

“We hope this will lead these students directly into the local Defence industries workforce and helps them broaden their career horizons,’’ Mr Thomas said.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Saab Australia and working with TAFE SA to offer this course to students. It is really aimed at those students who are interested in technology and computers but with a trade focus.’’

Dean Rosenfield, Managing Director Saab Australia, said the P-TECH partnership with St Patrick’s Technical College allows Saab Australia to play an active role in the learning and career development of its future technical workforce.

“With so many significant defence industry projects planned for the next 20 to 30 years in Australia we will require a new level of people with specialist technical skills,’’ Mr Rosenfield said.

“This partnership ensures secondary students will learn the technological skills, understand industry demands and gain a much higher level of practical experience before emerging into the workforce. This new partnership further expands Saab Australia’s work in building defence industry capacity and delivering world-class solutions for future key projects.”

TAFE SA’s Acting Director, Business, Information Technology and Justice Hilary Ashworth said the program with Saab Australia provides students with a career pathway enabling direct entry into employment within the growing national defence industry.

Describing the P-TECH Saab Australia course as exciting, Ms Ashworth said: “TAFE SA is proud to be providing the training and educational expertise to ensure students learn the skills that innovative companies like Saab Australia need for software engineers of the future.”

“TAFE SA is increasing our focus on responding to the training requirements of the defence industry and highly values working with StPatsTech to train young people to meet the industry’s skills needs.”

The P-TECH program will see Saab Australia develop a project for students to gain skills relevant to the industry, mentoring, and work experience.

Century Facebook

New Engineering projects at StPatsTech

St Patrick’s Technical College Engineering students will be given a unique opportunity to learn to weld to Australian Standard under the guidance of a local Defence industry company.

Century Engineering, located in the Edinburgh North Smart Industries Precinct, was one of the first companies to put its hand up to be part of the new P-TECH program being piloted at StPatsTech.

StPatsTech College principal Rob Thomas said Century Engineering should be applauded for its proactive approach to a skills shortage within its sector. Century Engineering joined other P-TECH partners Saab Australia and PMB Defence to sign a Memorandum of Understanding at the Adelaide Careers and Employment Expo on May 26.

“Through P-TECH we are able to not only provide students with real-life practical skills that will make them more employable in the future, but help industry fill skills gaps,’’ Mr Thomas said.

“Focussing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills also means we are able to create the workforce of the 21st Century.’’

Managing Director from Century Engineering, David Heaslip, said the company was keen to support the future in Defence engineering in Adelaide and help young people develop a vital skill within the industry.

“I think it is to everyone’s benefit if we have students who are engaged and interested in these areas. Not everyone can work in an office or wants to. This will give them avenues to see how things work within the industry. It will also help to develop our industry by having them learn to weld to the Australian Standard,” Mr Heaslip said.

“It is an industry requirement that manufacturing meets the Australian Standard but we do find tradesmen who are not fully familiar with the standards and that is why we really focussed this P-TECH course on welding management.

“The program helps students develop skills but also helps us identify the cream of the crop and we may be able to offer them an apprenticeship through our company. It’s really about engaging students at the earlier stages so they can understand the requirements of the industry.”

He said the students will be introduced to welding and the requirements of Australian Standard AS1554.1 Structural steel welding Part 1 Welding of steel structures. The students will gain an understating of what the standard means, and why it is an essential requirement of fabricating a product that is fit for structural purposes and meets strict industry requirements.

“The courses now on offer through StPatsTech are so exciting not just for the students taking part, but the companies partnering with the College,’’ said Toni Hartley who is rolling out the P-TECH program in Adelaide for the Skilling Australia Foundation.

“While Northern Adelaide has taken a hit recently when it comes to manufacturing jobs, we really want to show young people that there are still jobs and new opportunities emerging in the region. Defence industries in the region are a huge economic driver and through P-TECH courses at StPatsTech, local students are able to tap directly into these opportunities,’’ Ms Hartley said.

Century Engineering is a fully-owned South Australian company with a diverse profile across Defence, mining, power, water and rail industries. With more than 100 employees and a history that dates back about 65 years, Century Engineering has won contracts for the Air Warfare Destroyer project, the ANZAC Ship project and an artillery loading system project.

The P-TECH program will also see Century Engineering provide mentoring and work experience for students.


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.