14 April 2023

Launch of Wagga's new trades program a huge success

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Committee 4 Wagga chair Adam Drummond with a panel of apprentices at the launch of the Made For Trade program

Committee 4 Wagga chair Adam Drummond with a panel of apprentices at the launch of the Made For Trade program. Photo: Supplied.

The launch of a new trades program for students in Wagga has exceeded expectations, with an overwhelmingly positive response.

Committee 4 Wagga (C4W) and Training Services NSW’s Made For Trade program had over 160 students, parents, careers advisers and business owners attend the information night to learn more about the opportunities for apprenticeships in the region.

C4W chair Adam Drummond said the committee was overwhelmed by the positive response from attendees.

“We are excited to move on to the next phase, which involves workplace tours with students in groups,” Mr Drummond said. “It’s fantastic to see the city’s younger generation exploring their options and considering various career paths.

“Directly after the panels and speeches, parents and students spent the next hour networking with employers, career advisors, training organisations and major project reps, which was exciting to see.

“I think this ended up being one of our most successful events from an outcomes perspective, and we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback so far,” he said.

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Mr Drummond expressed gratitude towards C4W patron Kay Hull.

“A big shoutout to Kay, who gave a passionate keynote address and inspired all in the room … this is a passion of Kay’s and her comments at last year’s Business Summit was the catalyst for this great event,” he said.

Training Services NSW senior project officer Stacey Suidgeest said the night allowed the audience to hear more about the value of a trade and the upcoming major works planned for our region in the next five years.

Ms Suidgeest said the group heard from a panel of current apprentices about their trade journey and what it was like to undertake an apprenticeship.

“Current Riverina Apprentice of the Year Oswald Herrmann employed at Collier and Miller in Griffith, is now undertaking his second apprenticeship, progressing to a Certificate IV in Engineering after completing his Certificate III in Engineering,” she said.

Made For Trade launch

The launch of Made For Trade had over 160 attendees. Photo: Supplied.

“Oswald spoke about the skills he has learnt during his trade as being transferable especially when it comes to helping out on his family property.

“Mackenna Lange is now a current first-year apprentice undertaking her trade in welding.

“She is working in a non-traditional trade and was inspired to pursue this pathway after participating in the RIEP-funded ‘Girls Can Too’ program in Year 11 at high school,” she said.

Ms Suidgeest said Mackenna was the only female working on the floor at Truck Art with 40 males and described the environment as being welcoming and supportive.

Following the event’s conclusion, 45 students signed up to participate in the program.

Justeen Kirk, Kay Hull AO, Adam Drummond, Richard O’Connell, Stacey Suidgeest, Fiona Piltz

Sponsor TSA Justeen Kirk, C4W patron Kay Hull AO, Adam Drummond chair C4W, Mater Dei careers advisor Richard O’Connell, Training Services NSW’s Stacey Suidgeest, Wagga City Council’s Fiona Piltz. Photo: Supplied.

Ms Suidgeest said parents were grateful for the opportunities for their children to participate in these programs while they were at school to help them decide what they wanted to do as a career when they completed high school.

The senior project officer said the program was essential in the region as it allowed students to learn about the job opportunities in their local community.

“By creating connections with local employers and businesses, it will give students the confidence to pursue work experience and apply for apprenticeships,” she said.

“This will help ease the current labour shortage and increase the number of skilled workers in the region.

“At the end of the program, it is expected that the students who participate in the Made for a Trade program will be employed as a school based apprentice or full-time apprentice, or they will undertake VET subjects in Year 11 and Year 12 at high school.”

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C4W patron Ms Hull said the question-and-answer session with the apprentices was ‘brilliant’ as it provided understanding of the value apprentices had for themselves.

“We have a two-tiered system where there is respect for those who take the academic pathway but not for those who take the path of trades,” Ms Hull said.

Ms Hull hopes the program will run yearly and become more “encompassing, bigger and better”.

The Made for a Trade program will commence in term two with 20 Year 10 students from local Wagga hgh schools. The program will introduce students to TAFE NSW and local employers, and they will have the opportunity to participate in work readiness training.

Students will participate in work experience with local employers in terms three and four. Businesses who would like to participate in the program can contact Stacey Suidgeest at Training Services NSW on 0477 341 030 or [email protected]

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