Twelve Lithgow electrical and mechanical apprentices graduated from a TAFE NSW, Energy Australia, Skillset (Thales Group) and HVTC (Centennial Coal) apprentice skills centre program on Friday, June 21.
The students were asked to give presentations which were attended by students, teaching staff and employers before the formal presentation started, with students receiving their graduation certificates.
Some students were also recognised with Outstanding Achievement awards:
- Jack Baxter for Effective Communication
- Kyle Sharp for Fabrication
- Josh Winter for Fitting and machinery
- Blake Shiel for Computer Aided Design
- Griffin Houston for Electrotechnology
The program is designed for the apprentices to maximise their learning and enhance their skills for a career in electrical and mechanical industries, which are experiencing an increase of skills shortages.
TAFE NSW Fitting and Machining Teacher, Ron Hawkins, said the students were selected by their training organisation and host employer to complete a six-month program alongside their apprenticeship course.
The program consisted of studying at TAFE NSW Lithgow four days per week and one day on-the-job with their employer.
"The apprentices have learnt a broad range of hands-on skills not just in their chosen field of study but across electrical, fitting and machining, welding and fabrication industries," Mr Hawkins said.
Graduate Jack Baxter said with his trade of fitting and machinery, this course also gave him good insight into the basics of electrical and welding.
"Because all of our jobs are quite high risk, you do spend at least the first month doing safety skills with a lot of theory," he said.
Mr Baxter who works at Mt Piper power station for Energy Australia said that he would like to continue working for them.
"I want to build up my trade so that I can kick start my career," he said.
The course allowed Mr Baxter to see what other trades have to do on a daily basis.
"I work near boiler makers and I'm not an electrician but once the electricians shut them down we do a double check so we have to know what to do," he said.
"It also gives you a greater appreciation of what they have to do."
Mr Baxter said the course was a challenge, routinely being thrown in the deep end.
"Without doing the course, the things we were learning is stuff you would learn in your third year of doing the trade, so we were really thrown in the deep end, but I like that, it really helped me learn," he said.
"I want to thank Engery Australia for allowing me to do this."
Mechanical Engineering student, Josh Winter, who moved from Melbourne to complete his apprenticeship in Lithgow with Thales Group, said he is enjoying learning about electrical processes as well as increasing his knowledge across his chosen trade.
"I've learnt how to wire up a power point, weld, solder and make circuit boards. The way the industry's technology is evolving, I will need electrical skills to be a fitter and turner," Mr Winter said.
"I'm really enjoying working for Thales Group and learning all that I can at TAFE NSW."
Skillset Workforce Manager Service Delivery, Janine Martin, said Skillset were thrilled to be a partner in the program and work with TAFE NSW and Thales Group to offer apprentices access to training which sets them up for a successful career.
"We are noticing that the program has boosted the apprentices' confidence and cemented important life skills before they commence their formal trade training," Ms Martin said.
Thales Group Continuous Improvement Manager, David Forbes, said 'the annual program proved to be really valuable to our organisation.'
"It enables apprentices to progress a lot quicker, reaching their maturity earlier which helps to increase the organisations' productivity," Mr Forbes said.
"The apprentices also develop important skills such as teamwork, communication, presentation, budgeting and developing spreadsheets which isn't covered as part of their trade."
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