National Skills Week
National Skills Week 2018 | 27 August – 2 September
St Patrick’s Technical College is responsible for nearly 900 apprenticeship or traineeship commencements over the past 11 years, Principal Danny Deptula told a business lunch recently.
With two-thirds of the students from St Patrick’s Technical College in Edinburgh North going into an apprenticeship or traineeship while still completing their senior secondary education, the College is a shining example of what can be achieved through vocational education and training.
StPatsTech celebrated National Skills Week 2018 with a business lunch at the Playford Civic Centre. With Minister for Industry and Skills David Pisoni as key note speaker, the College brought together industry, business and educational leaders in the vocational education sector across Adelaide.
Mr Pisoni told the gathering St Patrick’s Technical College was crucial to the State Government’s goal of attracting 20,000 people to apprenticeships over the next four years.
“The state’s future depends on equipping the next generation with the skills required to fulfill in-demand jobs in traditional areas and in new industries,” Mr Pisoni said.
“Central to this is encouraging more young people to start their careers with a trade qualification. The opportunities and jobs that can result from undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship are endless. Many current businesses in South Australia began as a tradesperson starting a business of their own and now employing many others.
“Over the next few years, a massive wave of economic opportunity is heading South Australia’s way, with defence projects ramping up and significant jobs growth across all industries.
“We need to attract more young people into skilled training so they can take advantage of these evolving opportunities, and so South Australia has the skilled workforce required to meet this increased demand.”
Mr Deptula said National Skills Week is a great opportunity to highlight to young people and families the excellent career prospects for apprentices and trainees in South Australia.
“We are continually impressed by the calibre of our young people to do great things once they they have skills behind them,’’ Mr Deptula said.
He said National Skills Week was about celebrating VET as an equal pathway to university and helping to highlight the wonderful outcomes many trade and technical students achieve.
“In fact, statistics show tradies earn more within the first six months of graduation1 than bachelor degree holders and enjoy higher employment rates than their university peers2.
“When presented with that information as an educator and as a parent, I have to ask the question why apprenticeships and traineeships do not have the same standing in society as university pathways. A trade or technical career is equal, and in some cases more advantageous, to university.
“StPatsTech is on the frontlines when it comes to seeing the positive outcomes for young people, many who were never on a university trajectory and, as a result, felt uncertainty about their future because the clear pathway to success via VET was not held up as a shining light for them.”
One former student who recently took to the global stage to celebrate apprenticeships is Alex Nikielski.
Alex, who now lives in Paris, France, was a guest speaker at the United Nation’s International Conference on Innovations in Apprenticeships in Geneva, Switzerland.
As student at StPatsTech in 2011, Alex was named South Australia’s School-based Apprentice of the Year and was runner up in the national awards. In his final year of his apprenticeship, Alex undertook a Diploma in Electrical Engineering to complement his trade skills and is now an Electromechanical Technician performing maintenance of machines responsible for the production and quality assurance of aircraft turbines (most notably the Airbus A380).
“StPatsTech has a myriad of stories like Alex’s. Where a young person’s talent was harnessed, they were given an opportunity through an apprenticeship and they have made a successful career for themselves,” Mr Deptula said.
“Obviously we are immensely proud of Alex but also of the positive outcomes that can be made when you put the right student on the right pathway.”