Marks will matter in the workforce

Marks will matter in the workforce

As students across the state prepare to take their HSC, employers are preparing to recruit for 2019.

Students have been taking the HSC for over 50 years, meaning much of the current workforce has completed their Higher School Certificate. HSC results form the basis for many employers when considering new employees.

Maths and English remain the most important results employer’s looks at but technology and engineering units are a close second, particularly for businesses in IT and manufacturing. For many student the HSC won’t be the final exam they take either. It is common for employers and recruitment agencies ask candidates to take aptitude testing to assess their skills in work related sectors.

Nick Couper, general manager for HunterNet Group Training, says all candidates they interview are expected to complete aptitude testing regardless of what position their applying for.

“We ask all potential employees to take a short assessment of skills they’re going to need in the workplace,” Mr Couper said. “You can’t be an electrician if you don’t have excellent math skills, you can’t work in a business environment without basic comprehension skills.”

Mr Couper also advised students not to assume future employers won’t look at their HSC results.

“There’s a myth that your HSC scores don’t matter if you’re going to do a trade or go to TAFE, that’s not true at all. If your HSC is the highest level of education you have, you bet employers are going to ask to see your transcript.”

Mr Couper encouraged students to give it their “best go” during the HSC: “A bad HSC score is not the end of the world but isn’t is easier to get it right the first time?”

Setting goals

Making and getting the most out of study is important and it’s important to set goals. Students should ask themselves what they really hope to achieve.

Having a reason to stay motivated will make studying more purposeful.

Once students have formed their own personal idea of success, they should make it very specific. Know what marks you need, what university you would like to attend and what degree you would like to study.

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Fee-free apprenticeships

To help your business grow faster, the NSW Government is making apprenticeship training fee-free.

Our fee-free apprenticeship training brochure has more information.

From July 1 2018, any NSW business that takes on a new apprentice won’t have to pay a cent for the cost of their qualification training. The NSW Government will pay the up-to-$2000 qualification fee direct to the Smart and Skilled training provider.

This will save your business money and ensure you have the trained staff you need to thrive and grow.

When you’ve found the right apprentice, you can select from over 120 VET apprenticeship courses and over 88 Smart and Skilled providers, to deliver the right training for your needs.

More information here.

Building for the future

Apprenticeships are a great career pathway. They combine on-the-job training with classroom study to give you the skills and experience employers are looking for. Apprenticeships generally take around 3-4 years to complete, and apprentices earn a salary while they learn.

First-year plumbing apprentice Matthew Nagas knows firsthand the benefits of getting a trade through VET.

After more than 10 years working casually as a labourer, Casino-based Matthew Nagas jumped at the chance to do an apprenticeship through vocational education and training (VET).

“I’d been labouring since I was 16, but I knew I had to get something under my belt,” says the 31-year-old, who was first employed as a plumbing trades assistant by Laser Plumbing and Electrical Lismore in late 2016, then offered an apprenticeship in February 2018.

“In these smaller towns, it can be hard for younger people to try and find work. That’s why I laboured for most of my life – you get stuck in a routine,” he says. “Now I’m looking to the future.”

Matthew is now part of the Laser crew working on the Clarence Correctional Centre project – a John Holland-led project – and is in his first year of a Certificate III in Plumbing at TAFE NSW Coffs Harbour. “I’m enjoying it and learning heaps,” he says.

“Matthew is well on his way,” says Grant Smith, operations manager for Laser Plumbing. “He’s a good worker, as far as his commitment and passion go, and he’s only been rewarded for his hard work.”

Apprenticeships are a proven career pathway – according to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 92% of VET graduates who do a trade occupation course are employed after training.

Opportunities for thousands of apprenticeships throughout the state are now also a reality with the NSW Government announcing 100,000 fee-free apprenticeships from 1 July 2018 and a commitment that 20 per cent of trade roles on all its future construction projects will be filled by apprentices.

The Clarence Correctional Centre project falls under the government’s Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program, which seeks to create greater opportunities in construction for local people including young people, women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

For Matthew, his partner and their 18-month-old son, the opportunity to live, train and work in the Northern Rivers region is one of many benefits. “When I get my trade, I could even try and start my own business,” says Matthew. “I could help my nephews and their friends. It’d be good to open their eyes to it.”

This story originally appeared in the Daily Telegraph.

Top students named at the 2018 NSW Training Awards – Hunter

Training Services NSW Executive Director David Collins has congratulated Toby Dorn of Bolwarra and Renee Keir of Eleebana on taking out top honours at the 2018 NSW Training Awards for the Hunter region held tonight in Newcastle.

Toby who studied Aeroskills Mechanical at TAFE NSW while working at Jetstar at Williamtown was named local Apprentice of the Year. Renee who trained at Australian Training and Consulting while working as a Customer Service Officer at Lake Macquarie Council was named Trainee of the Year.

“Toby and Renee have proven to be among the State’s best and brightest Vocational Education and Training (VET) students,” Mr Collins said.

“Toby has been a standout aeroskills mechanical apprentice with Jetstar and is on a brilliant aviation career path having already obtained a commercial pilot’s licence and an Advanced Diploma in Aviation.

“Renee has excelled across a range of council areas as a Customer Service Officer including reception where her supervisor reports that she has a fantastic attitude to her work and customers.

“While Toby and Renee are exceptional VET talents, the quality of all finalists and winners at the Hunter Awards has provided a showcase of our world class VET sector and I congratulate them all,” Mr Collins said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Skills John Barilaro said regional winners would compete at the NSW Training Awards state finals in September.

“The Training Awards pay tribute to our apprentices, students, trainees, educators and training providers from all over the state and show how VET is a great pathway for a rewarding career,” Mr Barilaro said.

“They provide a fantastic platform for us to celebrate the achievements of all those involved in the success of our Smart & Skilled VET system which provides students in NSW with high quality and affordable training.

“VET offers a strong alternative to university with graduates getting into work sooner, getting paid more on graduation, and getting training in occupations predicted to have the greatest new job growth over the next five years.”

For more information on VET in NSW:
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Rewarding effort and training

Successful Partnership: Sean “Zack” Bennett and Liam Ryan have proved to be a great team. Photo: Supplied.
Successful Partnership: Sean “Zack” Bennett and Liam Ryan have proved to be a great team. Photo: Supplied.

Zack’s Automotive, also known as Muswellbrook Auto Services, has been a part of the landscape for the past two decades.

Starting off in a simple shed the business has continued to grow, both physically and in terms of it’s clients and staff, to the reputable business that it is today. Celebrating 20 years in 2018, Zack’s takes great pride in offering their clients the very best in car servicing and automotive repairs.

There were more calls for celebration recently when fourth year apprentice, Liam Ryan, won the “Apprentice of the Year 2018 for Automotive Mechanical Technology” with his Light Vehicle Certificate Three.

Business owner Sean Bennett, better known as Zack, said he was extremely proud of Liam and his efforts. “Liam’s professional approach, quality assurance and efficiency, highlighted by his understanding of customer care, are all qualities you need to be successful in our industry,” he said.

Great Achievement: Liam Ryan from Zack’s Automotive was named Apprentice of the Year at this year’s HRATA Awards. Photo: Supplied.
Great Achievement: Liam Ryan from Zack’s Automotive was named Apprentice of the Year at this year’s HRATA Awards. Photo: Supplied.

Throughout school Liam studied the trade subjects offered in his area and also undertook work placements with Zack’s Automotive which eventually led to his apprenticeship. Liam also helped design a program for a special needs student on work experience, with the project so successful the student is now a part time employee at Zack’s Automotive.

Zack said that outstanding results in Liam’s trade qualifications and a drive to achieve his career goals, has earn Liam the respect of his fellow employees, teachers and other apprentices, and sets him up for a very successful career in light vehicle mechanics.

Liam was honoured by the award and said that he had learnt so much more than just how to fix cars. Zack said part of their training included teaching apprentices to step up and take on more responsibilities and duties than required, which allows apprentices to up-skill in a range of areas.

Winner are grinners: Apprentice of the Year, Liam Ryan, with his proud parents, Michael and Moya, at the recent HRATA Awards. Photo: Supplied.
Winner are grinners: Apprentice of the Year, Liam Ryan, with his proud parents, Michael and Moya, at the recent HRATA Awards. Photo: Supplied.

Zack’s Automotive is proving to be a workplace where apprentices thrive. They have trained three previous HRATA winners in this category, a sign of the level of dedication and prosperous training that Zack and his team offer.

When asked who he would like to thank for the supporting himself and Liam throughout the apprenticeship, Zack said there as a long list of people involved including NSW Training Awards and Training Services, Masters Builders Apprentices, HunterNet Group Training and HRATA Event Manager, Merran Wiggins.

Of special mention he said were Liam’s parents Michael and Moya Ryan, who were great to communicate with and support Liam throughout his training, and Keiren Kelly from Muswellbrook TAFE who Zack said goes above and beyond, and has always been a great supporter.

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Sky’s the limit for youth seeking aerospace careers

Australia’s first astronaut and NSW space advocate Paul Scully-Power AM said the Aerospace Futures Conference being held in Canberra from 16-19 July is an excellent opportunity for NSW graduates and postgraduates to meet potential employers in the burgeoning aerospace industry.

“This Aerospace Futures conference will build on a re-energised space ecosystem in Australia and presents an opportunity for young professionals to explore the prospects for a future career,” Mr Scully-Power said.

“In this regard, NSW is already the leader as the home to more than 40 per cent of Australia’s space businesses.”

Hosted by the Australian Youth Aerospace Association and sponsored by the NSW Department of Industry, the event will attract nearly 850 industry and government officials, academics and students with speakers to include Mr Scully-Power.

“One in every three space industry jobs in Australia are already based in NSW and I encourage NSW graduates to seriously consider this fantastic opportunity,” he said.

Conference chair Ed Muthiah said 2018 is a milestone for the Australian air and space industries.

“From the beginnings of a fifth generation air force to the kindling of a long-awaited joint space effort, there’s a lot to be celebrated.

“Aerospace Futures is a one-of-a-kind event that exposes Australian youth to the accomplishments of current industry, government and academic leaders, in the hope that they will follow suit,” Mr Muthiah said.

NSW Defence Advocate Air Marshal John Harvey AM (Retd) said the future of the aerospace industry in NSW was bright with plans to develop a world class aerospace and defence industries precinct adjacent to the Western Sydney Airport.

“Those considering a future career in these industries should be in no doubt that NSW is the place to be.”

The NSW Department of Industry will host a finale dinner reception on 19th July featuring presentations outlining recent aerospace developments within NSW.

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Report shows pathways to success in brave new world

Schools will need to open their doors to stronger relationships with employers and workplaces if students are to thrive in a future world rich with artificial intelligence and disruptive technologies.

The finding is contained in a report, ‘Preparing for the best and worst of times’, commissioned by the NSW Department of Education to examine the skills Australia’s children will need as AI and other technologies “transform Australia’s economy, the workplace and the community”.

“This report reflects the NSW Department of Education’s commitment to supporting informed contributions to the national conversation about how education can better prepare young people for the challenges of life and work post-school,” Department of Education Secretary Mark Scott said.

“We know that a child starting kindergarten last year will spend much of their working lives in the second half of the 21st century.

“In a world rich with artificial intelligence this report helps us answer the question of how schools can help these students to not just survive – but to thrive in this rapidly changing environment.”

The study, led by Professor John Buchanan, of the University of Sydney’s Business School, brought together experts from a range of faculties including business, engineering, health and humanities.

Professor Buchanan said while AI had already been used as an excuse to cut jobs and had accentuated some forms of inequality, “technological change was usually for the good, depending on how it was handled”.

“There is no need to panic about artificial intelligence, we have survived big changes in the past and we can survive them again but we do need think carefully about the implications of AI and be thoughtful and disciplined about how we respond,” Professor Buchanan said.

One of the report’s key findings is that the academic and vocational arms of education need to work closer together and that employers need to be “part of the deal”.

Professor Buchanan said while teachers will remain the “anchor of coherence in the system”, workplaces could be powerful sites for learning.

“We should see the role of employers in education as a public good. We need new education settlements where employers are part of the deal,” he said.

The report points out that greater employer engagement with schools would provide students with a “better understanding of how their knowledge can be applied to solving real-world problems”.

For example biology students in schools could be linked to research institutions, while economic students might develop relationships with public policy units.

Similarly vocational subjects should not be “dumbed down” but instead students in these areas needed deeper expert and underpinning knowledge from more relevant subjects and employers.

“When you get to high school there is a need to really think through the curriculum,” Professor Buchanan said. “We note that on the academic side, there has been too much of a preoccupation with ATAR and what we call the competitive academic curriculum and on the vocational education side there has been too much of a willingness to go down market. To provide short run skills relevant to employers in the district.”

The report says the current focus on students acquiring the generic so-called 21st century skills in isolation from discipline knowledge is “unhelpful”.

“In our view, if you want to solve problems, you become skilled in a specific area of interest and then learn to solve problems in your area,” Professor Buchanan said.

“Someone with really good problem-solving skills who works in a childcare centre is going to be no good on an oil rig when a fire breaks out. Equally, a mining engineer who can handle a fire on an oil rig would have a nightmare trying to manage a child care centre.

“We have got to have a dynamic relationship between the specific and the general. In Switzerland and Germany, they are still training clockmakers and watchmakers and they gain transferable analytical and dextrous capacities they can take into medical device or tool making.”

While counselling against generic skills training, the report strongly recommends that students, particularly those in primary education, be given a strong desire to learn.

“We must nurture curiosity, give people the capacity to concentrate and the ability to follow an idea through over time,” Professor Buchanan said.

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Advancing Australia’s VET Sector

Let’s start with the good news: international education in Australia is on a record-breaking run, with over half a million students enrolled in tertiary education in the first half of 2018 alone. That’s a 12% increase on the same period last year, with international student enrolments rising 54% since 2013. Highest source markets include Nepal, Colombia, Brazil, India and China.

“Australia is uniquely positioned to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive international education market. Students know we have some of the best education institutions in the world, they know how much we value the diversity of experiences and views they bring with them, and they know the quality of living and opportunities here are second to none,” said Minister for Education & Training, Simon Birmingham.

Conversely, the PIE News have noted that tense relations between China and Australia could potentially impact this good news story – with the Chinese government recently issuing safety warnings to students going to Australia.

All’s not exactly well on the home front either, with reports last week that the number of Australia’s with tertiary qualifications is expected to plummet over the next decade.

Commentary was based on the ‘Participation in Tertiary Education in Australia’ report by Peter Noonan of the Mitchell Institute, which warns that “we will have fewer people of prime working age able to contribute to the future labour market if participation rates in higher education and VET fall as the population increases.”

The Mitchell Report calls for a “comprehensive, sustainable and long-term funding framework for VET and higher education” to ensure participation levels grow and not decline and to provide a better balance between the higher education and vocational education and training sectors.

In an effort to lift standards across the VET industry, our peak industry association ACPET has introduced an industry certification program to recognise members for educational quality, ethical practices and behaviours, continuous improvement practices and professional student services. A great initiative, that we’d encourage everyone to participate in.

I am also proudly an independent member of the Academic Governance Board of the newly-approved Higher Education Leadership Institute (HELI) – a new education provider aimed at fulfilling a niche role in the independent higher education sector.

HELI has just launched its first 1-year part-time online certification program for academics, the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Academic Practice (GradCertHE) which will commence on 16 July 2018.

Aimed at enhancing the knowledge, skills and understanding of academic practice in the higher education sector this course can only contribute to the continued elevation of our industry as a whole. We are all looking forward to welcoming the first cohort this year.

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Advancing Australia’s VET Sector – curated industry news #03 2018

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