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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.


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 >