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Technical college to meet apprentice needs of the future

Schools

The development of the Western Technical College (WTC) at Rosewater will provide a boost in skilled apprentices able to fill the shortfall in a number of key industries in South Australia.

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Currently transitioning from the Rosewater Trade Training Centre, the college will officially open its doors mid next year, with more than 600 students enrolled.

Building works are currently underway to expand facilities to include new machining and fabrication areas, as well as two laboratories to deliver Computer Aided Design, Drafting and Information, Digital Media and Technology, Electronics and Electrotechnology, and a simulated work space for Automotive Servicing Technology.

When announcing the almost $5 million expansion in April this year, Premier Steven Marshall said the WTC – which is a partnership between Catholic Education SA and the State Government – would support South Australian students to be best placed for future jobs.

“This is a major investment in the future prosperity of our State. It’s great news for the western suburbs and it’s great news for industry in general,” he said.

“Industry has told us that they need young people with work-ready skills. We have listened and the establishment of a technical college in Adelaide’s west will deliver the skills needed to support jobs in the defence, shipbuilding and maritime industries.”

WTC manager Shane Gubbin said with the introduction of the new courses next year – combined with the traditional offerings of Hairdressing and Makeup; Construction and Building; and Manufacturing and Engineering – students will gain qualifications that would “set them up for life”.

“WTC is building on the success of Rosewater Trade Training Centre and expanding into new industries that will be required in the future economic development of the State, such as defence, maritime, and space projects,” he said.

“We’re entering an exciting phase and it’s about getting people to think of the possibilities.

“The Federal and State governments are putting a lot of time, effort and money into vocational pathways. The State Government, in particular has said VET should be seen as an equal to tertiary pathways because learning continues, but just in a different context.

“The conditions and wages for apprentices have improved, incentives for employers have improved and an ageing workforce means there is going to be a big hole as we have lost the volume of people in trades. People who enter a trade have very transferable skills…if you’ve got a trade you’ll never be out of work.”

WTC Industry Connect Consultant Anne Marie O’Grady works closely with industry groups to ensure graduates have a good employment outcome.

Ms O’Grady said an example of industry collaboration was the new BAE Systems ASC Shipbuilding Readiness Program. Students started their VET in Certificate II Engineering Pathways at Western Technical College and are now studying at TAFE SA Regency campus. They will complete on-the-job training and paid blocks of workplace activities at the Osborne Naval Shipyard, while completing their Year 11 and 12 studies.

Participants in the program include Joshua Venning from Prince Alfred College and Alyssa Vincenzi from Sacred Heart College.

Joshua said his education pathway with WTC suited him because “my ambition has been to find a career where I can work with my hands, problem solve and continue my love of welding”.

“The ASC shipbuilding program will provide me the best career start and create opportunities I would not have even considered. Another option is to return to my home town of Kadina and take over from dad in our family’s engineering workshop,” he said.

Alyssa said having grown up in the environment of her dad’s automotive workshop she chose to study engineering “because I enjoy manufacturing products”. “When I finish my trade I see myself working overseas. I also aim to study engineering at university to gain more knowledge in the industry so hopefully one day I can open my own engineering company,” she said.

“WTC helped me gain a job at ASC Shipbuilding and they were always very supportive of my needs as a student. After transferring to Regency TAFE (due to gaining employment), WTC always kept regular contact with me to see how I was doing.”

Western Technical College is open to Years 10-12 students from Catholic, Independent and Government schools who are working towards a Certificate II qualification, while completing their SACE studies. Lecturers are industry experts provided by TAFE SA, and the strong partnership with TAFE provides a pathway for study beyond Year 12. The college is supported by host school Mount Carmel College.

For further information on Western Technical College, please email: info@wtc.sa.edu.au

 

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