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Northern college providing skills for employment


Despite the depressing youth unemployment figures and the impending closure of the Holden factory in Elizabeth, St Patrick’s Technical College continues to be a shining light for employment and training outcomes for youth living in northern Adelaide.

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The college is about to sign up its 800th apprentice and a report released last week outlines success stories for old scholars which go against regional and national trends.

The Celebrating 10 years of excellence in vocational education report shows that 98 per cent of past students are currently employed.

This year StPatsTech undertook a major project to contact its old scholars and track their career outcomes. The report, which was released at a business lunch held in Playford on Friday August 25, shows that over the past decade more than 1430 students have undertaken SACE or Certificate II level training at the college and as of August 2017, 800 teenagers from StPatsTech had been placed in an apprenticeship. Impressively, 94 per cent of those 800 students completed their apprenticeship (compared to a national average completion rate of 55.2 per cent) and most remained employed in South Australia.

Guest speaker at the lunch, which heralded the start of National Skills Week, was Nicholas Wyman, CEO of Skilling Australia Foundation. He told the gathering employment outcomes for vocationally-educated young people was a more flexible, accessible and adaptable way to educate Australians than university, and consistently produced superior results when it came to employment.

Mr Wyman said vocational education was all too often regulated to a forgotten child status between debates surrounding university and public versus private schooling. But this needed to change because vocational education was in the unique position to meet the needs of employers, employees and the Australian economy.

“The economic strength of the region and our position in the global economy will continue to present Australians with great opportunities. Therefore, there is no question the government’s broad agenda to strengthen Australia’s competitiveness by building a more skilled labour force is a worthy goal to pursue,’’ Mr Wyman said.

“If we are to succeed in these endeavours, we need to prepare young people for the jobs and industries of the 21st century.”

Senator David Fawcett and 2016 SA Apprentice of the Year and StPatsTech old scholar, Jack Donaldson also addressed the lunch.

StPatsTech is hosting a number of events this week as part of National Skills Week. For more information go to



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