Jobs Boom for the North

St Patrick’s Technical College has welcomed news that Elizabeth will become a centre for crane manufacturing after it was announced Victorian-based Australian Crane and Machinery (ACM) would set up a base at the former Holden plant.

The $16-million announcement was made today and comes following an announcement late last year that Melbourne-based cyber security company VeroGuard Systems would invest $57.5 million in building a manufacturing facility in Edinburgh.

StPatsTech College Principal Danny Deptula said the 600 jobs expected from VeroGuard and 190 from the ACM manufacturing plant was great news for young people looking to enter a trade or technical career.

“While we hope this will provide employment for the workers affected by the closure of the Holden manufacturing plant at Elizabeth last year, we also recognise that the next generation of workers in the North will greatly benefit by having these multi-million companies operating in the area,” Mr Deptula said.

He said Automotive, Metals, Engineering and Electrotechnology students would be well positioned for apprenticeships with the companies. ACM will employ welders, fitters, auto electricians and machinists as well as automotive tradespeople.

“The announcement today is proof there is a strong future for apprentices in northern Adelaide and clear career outcomes for young people interested in trades,’’ Mr Deptula said.

ACM Managing Director Ben Potter said ACM chose the site in Elizabeth because of the presence of skilled labour, engineers and a stable workforce and political environment.

“The location is excellent for export market shipping and access to wind farms where our largest units are used for maintenance. Of course, the weather is also great, which is important for us working and testing our machines in the field,” he said.

ACM manufacturing centre will begin production early next year. The plant will cover up to 28,000 square metres and ACM will receive a $2.2 million grant from the Economic Investment Fund to establish the facility.

ACM is the largest privately-owned manufacturer of cranes and Elevated Work Platforms (EWPs) in the Oceania region and exports to the United States, Chile and Canada.

Today’s announcement adds to the success of Investment Attraction South Australia (IASA), which is bringing companies like Boeing and Technicolor to our state.

Premier Jay Weatherill said the announcement by ACM was avote of confidence” in South Australia’s ability to manufacture and export technically-advanced, large-scale equipment to the world.

“It will create a diverse range of jobs and apprenticeships in the metal trades. This is important in the context of creating and maintaining skill synergies across other industry sectors including defence, infrastructure, energy and mining,” Mr Weatherall said.

A St Patrick’s Technical College student has swapped her school books for her passport this week as she jets off to the United States to compete in an elite cheerleading competition.

Siobhan Butson, 16, from Angle Vale is part of Gawler’s MTM Allstars Magic Gold team that was selected to compete at Duel in the Desert in Palm Springs, California. Duel in the Desert is one of America’s most famous cheerleading competitions and Siobhan will see routines from some of the world’s best teams.


Along with her mum Jodie and 16 teammates, Siobhan will also get the chance to see Los Angeles and Disneyland while in the US.

“I’m really excited to be able to compete against the Americans because they were the originals and they are really, really good,’’ Siobhan said.

“I’m very happy to have this opportunity.’’

Magic Gold will compete in Level One of the five-level competition and have been training hard to hone their routine. The team were rated South Australia’s best team last year, which earned them a place at the national competition Pinnacle in November.

Siobhan was part of the 2018 Year 11 intake at StPatsTech and is studying Hair and Beauty as well as her SACE. StPatsTech wishes her all the best for the competition.

Jaden Rollison will represent SA at the upcoming National Junior Track Championships in Melbourne in February 2018.

Jaden Set for Success

Combining trade training with an elite sports career is one way St Patrick’s Technical College student Jaden Rollison is guaranteeing a secure future for himself.

Jaden is one of South Australia’s most talented young track cyclists and will soon represent the state in the Under 17s Australian Junior Track National Championships in Melbourne.

As a member of the South Australia track cycling development squad, Jaden hopes his performance over the next 12 months will see him selected to the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) by 2019.

The former BMX champion is the current State Sprint Champion holding the gold medal in both the 200m and 500m sprint. Training seven days a week, Jaden one day hopes to be selected to represent Australia at the Olympic Games.

Jaden, who cycles for Central Districts, joined the Year 11 intake to StPatsTech in a bid to secure an apprenticeship as a plumber. Inspired by his pop, who was a plumber for 50 years, Jaden hopes he can combine his trade training and cycling schedule.

He said he appreciated the value of having a trade behind him, especially once his cycling career winds down.

College Principal Danny Deptula congratulated Jaden on his impressive achievements and wished him all the best for the national titles.

“Jaden has obviously seriously considered his future and can see the value in developing skills off the cycling track which can support his dreams of becoming an Olympian,’’ Mr Deptula said.

“StPatsTech is a great choice for young sportsmen as they can continue to follow their sports passion while securing an apprenticeship or traineeship, which can serve them for the rest of their lives.’’

The 2018 Cycling Australia Junior Track National Championships will be held at the Disc Velodrome from February 19 to 25.

Pictured from left is St Patrick’s Technical College Principal Danny Deptula with Northern Economic Plan Director Laki Kondylas and Chairman Steve Ludlam and College Industry Partnerships Manager Toni Hartley on a tour of the school’s Metals and Engineering workshop.

On the same page when it comes to jobs for youth

Apprenticeships for Northern Adelaide’s young people play an important part in the economic and social health of the region, according to Chairman of the Northern Economic Plan Steve Ludlam.

Mr Ludlam and Northern Economic Plan Director Laki Kondylas stopped by St Patrick’s Technical College today to meet with new Principal Danny Deptula and Industry Partnerships Manager Toni Hartley.

The group discussed similar ideals in seeing more Northern Adelaide youth being put into apprenticeships.

‘We like to see what different organisations are doing and how we can work together to provide support for apprenticeships,’ Mr Ludlam said.

Mr Ludlam said the Northern Economic Plan had done a lot of work around supporting the workers during the recent closure of the Holden factor at Elizabeth but also wanted to ensure pathways to employment are open and accessible for the region’s youth. In particular, Mr Ludlam said growing the area’s Defence industries would see more jobs for youth and benefit the region in the long term.

Mr Deptula said StPatsTech had a tradition of fostering strong links with industry.

‘We have had more than 820 young people signed up to an apprenticeship because our students are learning the skills that industry need and want,’ Mr Deptula said.

‘Being responsive to industry demands means that local businesses can source local workers and this has a wonderful flow-on effect across our entire community as well as changing the life of that young person placed into an apprenticeship or traineeship.’

With the College introducing the P-TECH Australia program in 2017 with a focus on Defence industries, Mr Deptula said the school was well aligned to help provide the modern workforce employers will need as the Defence space expands in Adelaide.

The Northern Economic Plan covers the local government areas of Playford City, Salisbury City and Port Adelaide Enfield City.

Pictured from left is St Patrick’s Technical College Principal Danny Deptula with Northern Economic Plan Director Laki Kondylas and Chairman Steve Ludlam and College Industry Partnerships Manager Toni Hartley on a tour of the school’s Metals and Engineering workshop.

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.

College stalwart steps down

Establishing an entirely new school usually takes up to four years, but when St Patrick’s Technical College began it took a small team under two years to open the doors for students.

One of the original instigators of St Patrick’s Technical College, then known as the Australian Technical College (ATC) – Northern Adelaide, was Jim Montgomery, 72, who recently retired as the school’s Industry Relations Manager, a role he has inhabited for the entire life of the College. Mr Montgomery is responsible for ensuring the College has a strong relationship with local industry and is meeting the skills needs of those industries.

He leaves the role in the capable hands of Toni Hartley who has worked closely with the College through the Skilling Australia Foundation’s P-TECH program.

Affiliated with the now defunct Northern Adelaide Development Board (NADB), Mr Montgomery was asked to help build the case for a technical college in Adelaide’s north by NADB manager Max Davids. Mr Davids, who was the driving force behind the establishment of StPatsTech, would go on to be a member of the College’s inaugural board.

In 2005, partnering with Catholic Education South Australia (CESA), Mr Montgomery helped write the submission to the Federal Government for the College. He was responsible for writing the industry side of the proposal by addressing industry needs and wants and building relationships with local employers and businesses.

“When it established the Australian Technical Colleges, the Federal Government laid down some guidelines. One of those was the requirement for the schools to be industry-driven. I had already done many years in industry relations with the NADB, so that is why Max asked me to help with the submission for Northern Adelaide,’’ Mr Montgomery said.

The submission by the consortium led by Mr Davids and CESA was successfully selected to establish a northern Adelaide ATC, one of three set up in South Australia. But this is when the real work began and Mr Montgomery was asked to stay on the team to help develop a business plan.

“Max was really the driving force behind the establishment of the college during this time and he was determined to see it through,’’ Mr Montgomery said.

“At this time I was working as a consultant and really focussed on developing the industry links right up until the College opened.’’

By September 2006, the newly-formed board were able to appoint staff to the College and the first Continue reading

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.