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2018 off on the right foot

St Patrick’s Technical College students have begun 2018 on the right foot, with a handful of students working over the school holidays to secure themselves a School-based Apprenticeship or Traineeship (SbAT) by the time classes started this week.

Three students have signed on for a SbAT during the school holidays and another student will soon begin his trade career.

College Principal Danny Deptula said the students’ commitment to gaining an apprenticeship or traineeship set the tone for the 2018 school year.

“Here at StPatsTech, we strive to help our students develop their own unique gifts and talents and prepare them for the world of work,’’ Mr Deptula said.

“If our students show they have the right attitude and are committed to their chosen trade, they will be afforded amazing opportunities that can set them onto a lifetime of success.

“We are not a traditional school where ATAR scores are given high priority. We focus on employability skills which means developing the person, fostering the right attitude, learning resilience and building confidence.”

One student who has taken the initiative is 17-year-old Cristian Neve. Cristian, from Angle Vale, has begun a Certificate III in Concreting through MEGT with Burton-based Xtreme Concrete Construction

Pictured from left are: Nigel Martini Xtreme Concrete Construction, Cristian Neve, Cristian’s dad Jason Neve (dad), Rachael Jensen from MEGT, Rachael Martini (and son) from Xtreme Concrete Construction and new StPatsTech College Principal Danny Deptula.

Pictured from left are: Nigel Martini Xtreme Concrete Construction, Cristian Neve, Cristian’s dad Jason Neve (dad), Rachael Jensen from MEGT, Rachael Martini (and son) from Xtreme Concrete Construction and new StPatsTech College Principal Danny Deptula.

. He will spend 40 weeks this year with his employer and six weeks at school completing his SACE.

This will mean Cristian will graduate Year 12 in November 2018 with the first year of his traineeship completed and his Year 12 certificate.

“It’s very important to me to get my SACE because in the future you don’t know what will happen and it’s a good thing to have under your belt,’’ Cristian said.

Cristian did work experience with Xtreme Concrete Construction last year as part of the extensive StPatsTech Year 11 work experience program before moving into a part-time labouring role with the company. He signed his traineeship on January 11.

Mr Deptula congratulated Cristian on his traineeship and said Cristian and the College’s other SbATs were on the pathway to success in life.

“For example a student in an apprenticeship at 17 years old can expect to earn about $250,000 in wages by the age of 24. With no HECS debt like their 24-year-old university graduate peers, the tradesperson would be able to afford to buy their first home. By the age of 35, the tradesperson could have paid off their first mortgage and be financially secure into the future,” Mr Deptula said.

Century Engineer PTECH 2017 participants with Andrew Sinclair upon receiving their welding certificates.

First year success for skills program

As the 2017 school year comes to a close, we are looking back at one of the most innovative programs run at St Patrick’s Technical College this year – the Century Engineering P-TECH collaboration.

The College joined 13 other schools from around the country as part of the Australian Government’s $5.1 million P-TECH Australia pilot program. P-TECH brings industry and education institutions together to help students develop science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills in a practical, real-world manner. The program aims to develop students’ knowledge within the STEM space as well as directly addressing industry needs and build future workforces.

StPatsTech introduced two programs this year with a third coming online in 2018.

  • Defence Force contractor Century Engineering worked with Year 11 Engineering students to develop their welding skills to the Australian standards.
  • PMB Defence, which builds the batteries that power Australia’s fleet of Collins class submarines, worked with Electrotechnology students to develop their battery knowledge and system skills.
  • Saab Australia, which operates in the advanced technology space with Adelaide’s defence sector, will mentor students from 2018 as part of the College’s new information technology course.

intertek-(8)rAndrew Sinclair, Business Development Manager with Century Engineering, sat down with StPatsTech to talk about the engineering program he helped drive this year.

“There is a skills shortage across the engineering trades and I hope programs like P-TECH can be part of the solution to address those needs,’’ Mr Sinclair said.

“It’s a great advantage for students to engage with industry at an earlier stage such as from Year 11.

“It’s also been very rewarding to see the students engage with the program and it was quite surprising how well they took in the information, especially in the practical stages.

“The students have really evolved and developed over the course of the program, which is fantastic to see.’’

Mr Sinclair, who was Century Engineering’s main mentor for the program, said he also enjoyed working with the teachers and giving them a better knowledge of the industry.

Describing his relationship with the College as “excellent”, Mr Sinclair said the flexibility and understanding of industry demands and timetables was a big element in the program’s first year success.

Northern Adelaide P-TECH Industry Liaison Officer, Toni Hartley, from the Skilling Australia Foundation, has been the bridge between the College’s teachers and industry to develop the three programs and hopes to see more roll out in the coming years.

Ms Hartley praised Century Engineering for its commitment to the P-TECH program across the whole company from management to the workshop floor.

“Century Engineering, along with StPatsTech’s other industry partners PMB Defence and Saab Australia, have shown a real commitment to their industries and the future workforce by investing their time and effort into developing P-TECH programs for South Australian youth,’’ Ms Hartley said.

“These programs have opened industry doors to the young people who have taken part and have served to give them a greater understanding of career pathways within the Defence industry space.’’

Major partner in the P-TECH program at StPatsTech is TAFE SA, which accredits the courses ensuring students are formally recognised for their skills.

Ms Hartley said bringing students, industry and tertiary education together in one program helped students clearly see the pathways open to them in trade and technical careers. One of the core purposes of the P-TECH program is to demonstrate to students the vocational or apprenticeship pathway to higher education.

“We are working hard to ensure young people understand the many interesting, fulfilling, and financially rewarding career choices today’s tradesmen and women have, especially within the STEM sector,’’ she said.

“All too often university is pushed onto students as the only pathway to a long and successful career but that is just not the case. Armed with a Year 12 education and technical and trade qualifications, a worker can enjoy a varied and interesting career with as much earning power and potential for growth as their university trained peers.’’

The Federal Department of Employment figures in December 2016 showed there was a skills shortage in South Australia in sheet metal trades workers and metal machinists (1st class).

The Labour Market for Engineering Trades Workers in South Australia report said within engineering trades, only 66 per cent of vacancies in Adelaide were able to be filled because workers lacked experience and skills.


GPA Engineering site visit

Year 11 Engineering students recently learnt how critical it is for manufacturers to follow engineering designs as part of St Patrick’s Technical College’s P-TECH program.

The students visited GPA Engineering in Unley and heard from Principal Civil / Structural Engineer, Amilcar Guerra, about the importance of engineering and design. The students were shown a number of case studies of poor design or manufacturing, which resulted in serious failures of infrastructure, and how and why the failures occurred.

GPA 1Mr Guerra, who has nearly 20 years’ experience in civil and structural engineering, told the students good engineers had a strong understanding of workshop practices and the technical skills required to create designs. He said collaboration between engineers and manufacturers was important to create safe, robust and efficient infrastructure.

StPatsTech P-TECH partner, Century Engineering, arranged the visit to GPA. Century Engineering development manager Andrew Sinclair, who has been mentoring the students, also attended the meeting.

“In fabrication it is critical we follow the engineers’ drawings and get it right,’’ Mr Sinclair told the students.

“What has caused a fault could be as simple as an undersized weld or lack of fusion in the weld and a crack starts.’’

The Australian Government’s $5.1 million P-TECH pilot program has seen three employers partner with StPatsTech to help students realise pathways through science, technology, engineering and maths streams. These pathways can be through apprenticeships and vocational education or university and it is hoped the StPatsTech P-TECH program will help bridge skills gaps in Adelaide’s Defence industries.

Along with Century Engineering, which is a heavy manufacturer for a number of Defence contracts, the College has partnered with PMB Defence, which designs and builds batteries for the Collins class submarine, and Saab Australia, Australia’s most experienced defence system company.


Year 11 Awards

St Patrick’s Technical College’s founding Principal addressed his final assembly at the school ahead of his retirement at the end of the year.

Rob Thomas has been an educator for more than 40 years and played a pivotal role in the establishment of StPatsTech. Chair of StPatsTech College Board, Tricia Hicks, pay tribute to Mr Thomas’ contribution to the school.

“On behalf of the board, I’d like to pay special tribute to Mr Rob Thomas,’’ Ms Hicks said.

“For 11 and a half years he has tirelessly worked on your (the students’) behalf to help you achieve your own dreams.

“Thank you Rob for your input and all you’ve done for St Patrick’s, which is always for the benefit of the students here at the College.’’

Principal Rob Thomas' final assembly and presentation of Year 11 student awards.

Principal Rob Thomas’ final assembly and presentation of Year 11 student awards.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here immensely and meeting the many, many outstanding young people who give me great hope for the future,’’ Mr Thomas said.

Student leader Santiago Bribiesca Diaz thanks Mr Thomas on behalf of the students.

“Thank you for believing that we all deserve the best type of education possible. We wish you every happiness and good health in your retirement,” Santiago said.

Current Thomas More College Deputy Principal, Danny Deptula, will take over the reins from January 2018.

Also farewelled at the assembly were teachers, Chef Yvette Hull and College Coordinator, Marc Forster along with pre-foundation staff member, Jim Montgomery. Chef Hull is moving interstate with her family while Mr Forster has taken up the position of Deputy Principal at St Mark’s College in Port Pirie. Mr Montgomery, the College’s Industry Relations Manager, was involved in the initial submissions to establish a technical high school in Adelaide’s north in the mid-2000s.

The assembly also saw the Year 11 Class of 2017 awards given across the College’s three trade schools. The recipients were:

Lachlan-Osborne-with-Mr-ThomasPrincipal’s Award for the student with the most outstanding academic and trade performance; showed unwavering commitment to their goals; and who always represented the College to the best of their ability at school, in the workplace and in the wider community – Lachlan Osborne

School of Building and Construction

  • Endeavour Award for Construction: Cristian Neve
  • Academic Excellence Award for Construction: Riley Elson
  • Endeavour Award for Plumbing: Carlos Buccini
  • Academic Excellence Award for Plumbing: Harrison Durack

School of Community Service, Hospitality and Lifestyle

  • Endeavour Award for Food and Hospitality: Chelsea Doman-Hicks
  • Academic Excellence Award for Food and Hospitality: Courtney Bailie
  • Endeavour Award for Hair and Beauty: Abigail Johnson
  • Academic Excellence Award for Hair and Beauty: Dana Postle

School of Engineering and Transport

  • Endeavour Award for Automotive: Joshua Dell
  • Academic Excellence Award for Automotive: Declan Caldow
  • Endeavour Award for Electrotechnology: Connor Hopkins
  • Academic Excellence Award for Electrotechnology: Peter Arabatzis
  • Endeavour Award for Metals and Engineering: Herbertia Barber-Watts
  • Academic Excellence Award for Metals and Engineering: Daniel Raschella
Dale Williams

StPatsTech farewell to Holden

When you drive around Adelaide’s northern suburbs one brand of vehicle is seen more than any other – the Holden. The much-loved badge will today cease production in Australia when Holden’s Elizabeth plant closes its doors.

One person responsible for more than 10 Holdens, including classic models like the Torana, on northern roads is StPatsTech Old Scholar Dale Williams, 23.

St Patrick’s Technical College has reflected on its association with the company and its impact on the northern region.

Holden lineup (002)

Dale, who lives at Two Wells, did his apprenticeship at Holden after graduating from StPatsTech’s electrotechnology program. He began his electrical apprenticeship in 2012 but left as soon as he completed his training.

“I was about half way through my electrical apprenticeship when they said they were closing. So all of us apprentices kind of knew the writing was on the wall in terms of us not having a job. There were 10 apprentices at the time and we all knew there would be no job after and as soon as were signed off we were out the door.”

“I left Holden on January 30, 2016 and I was able to get another job within a month. I now work in the lift industry and it’s something completely different.’’

Dale said after the announcement of the closure the mood at the factory changed. He said it was sad to see colleagues and friends made redundant over the past several years.

Dale is pictured with his dad Chris during one of Holden’s farewell events. Dale was able to put his first car, a 1976 Holden LX Torana with a V8 355 Stroker motor on the assembly line. Dale has a collection of more than 10 Holdens which he has restored.


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 am really looking forward to working with the staff, students and the College community. I have been working in the northern area for over 20 years and I am passionate about creating the opportunities which help to change the lives of the region’s young people, and ensuring they have the same prospects as other 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.