The first ever P-Tech program will be rolled out at Hunter River High School in 2018

Hunter River High School took the first steps in recruiting students for its Pathways in Technology, or P-Tech, pilot on Thursday.

Representatives from University of Newcastle, Varley Group, UAVAIR, Ampcontrol and BAE Systems, who have partnered with the school for the Australian Government’s $5.1 million P-Tech program, spoke to year 10 students.

From that group of students about 45 will be selected to be the first P-Tech “class” in 2018.

“A big part of this program is the industry partnerships,” Liana Nadalin, the industry liaison officer from Skilling Australia Foundation, said.

“Having these partners, who will eventually put the students into their world, into their industry, speaking with them today has been fantastic.”

Senator Simon Birmingham and 2016 Liberal candidate for Paterson Karen Howard visited Hunter River High in June last year to announce it was one of 12 schools across Australia that will pilot the P-Tech program.

Senator Simon Birmingham and 2016 Liberal candidate for Paterson Karen Howard visited Hunter River High in June last year to announce it was one of 12 schools across Australia that will pilot the P-Tech program.

The Australian Government announced Hunter River High would be one of 12 schools to trial the education-to-workforce program in June 2016.

Skilling Australia Foundation has been enlisted to help roll out the programs in the schools.

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter has also partnered with Hunter River High School to deliver the P-Tech program. 

At its heart, the P-Tech program is about getting kids ready for the jobs of the future, faster.

In the Hunter, with the Joint Strike Fighter on its way to Williamtown, the aero industry will be in need of workers skilled in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The P-Tech program will put Hunter River High students with an interest in aviation and engineering on an industry-supported pathway towards jobs in those fields.

Thursday’s information day was the first step in doing that. 

In groups, the students went around to six stations manned by representatives from program partners to hear about different aspects of the industry.

Teachers John Cracium and Rob D’Elboux were also part of the sessions.

Year 10 students Connor Oppermann, Megan Snow, and Seth Johnstone, all 15, attended the information sessions on Thursday.

Year 10 students Connor Oppermann, Megan Snow, and Seth Johnstone, all 15, attended the information sessions on Thursday.

Prospective P-Tech students Connor Oppermann, Megan Snow, and Seth Johnstone, all 15, attended the information sessions. 

Mr Opperman said it was a good introduction to the businesses in the area, and to see what career opportunities they had.

After information sessions wrapped up, students filled out a survey to indicate which areas they are interested in.

Those with an interest in engineering and aviation will be invited to a number of VIP tours and experiences, provided by the industry partners.

This is to further their interest and cement whether it is a career pathway they would like to follow.

From there, applications to be involved in the program will be made.

By Term Four, a cohort of about 45 students will be picked to begin the program in Term One 2018.

P-Tech partners and teachers at Hunter River High School on Thursday, June 22.

P-Tech partners and teachers at Hunter River High School on Thursday, June 22.

What is P-Tech?

P-Tech, or Pathways in Technology, is a school-based program funded by the Australian Government to the tune of $51 million.

Twelve schools across Australia have been selected to trial the program.

At its heart, the program is to get kids ready for the jobs of the future.

In the Hunter, with the Joint Strike Fighter on its way to Williamtown, the aero industry will be in need of workers skilled in the “STEM” subjects - science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

P-Tech will give students an industry supported pathway to a STEM-related diploma or degree.

Industry support will come from the businesses and organisations that have partnered with the government for P-Tech.

This relationship between industry, schools and tertiary education providers will enable businesses to play an active role in the learning and career development of their future workforce. 

Key features of the P-Tech program include opportunities for students to connect with and build relationships with businesses, and to take part in hands-on, project-based activities, both at school and in the workplace. 

The government is working with the Skilling Australia Foundation to expand the Australian P-Tech program.

Teacher John Craciun speaking to prospective participants of the first ever P-Tech program at Hunter River High School on Thursday, June 22.

Teacher John Craciun speaking to prospective participants of the first ever P-Tech program at Hunter River High School on Thursday, June 22.

What does it have to do with Hunter River High School?

The Heatherbrae high school was one of just 12 selected to trial the P-Tech program. This was announced in June 2016.

It is the Hunter's only “aerospace school”.

Through P-Tech, the school will work with Jetstar Airways, Varley Group, BAE Systems and Ampcontrol to help students achieve better results in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and create school-to-technology industry job pathways.

Wayne Moy from Varley Group spoke to prospective participants of the first ever P-Tech program at Hunter River High School on Thursday.

Wayne Moy from Varley Group spoke to prospective participants of the first ever P-Tech program at Hunter River High School on Thursday.

Who is involved?

Hunter River High School is working with the following organisations and businesses to deliver the P-Tech program:

University of Newcastle

Varley Group

Ampcontrol

Jetstar Airways

BAE Systems

Skilling Australia Foundation 

A BAE Systems representative speaking with Hunter River High School students Riley Price, 17, and Johann Kucera in June 2016, when the P-Tech pilot was launched. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

A BAE Systems representative speaking with Hunter River High School students Riley Price, 17, and Johann Kucera in June 2016, when the P-Tech pilot was launched. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

So, how is the program going?

The pilot was launched in June 2016, but the first P-Tech “class” has not been selected – yet.

Thursday’s information session was the first step.

Year 10 students took part in information sessions, presented by the industry partners (mentioned above). Afterwards, they filled out a survey to indicate which areas they are interested in.

Those with an interest in engineering and aviation will be invited to a number of VIP tours and experiences, provided by the industry partners.

This is the further their interest and cement whether it is a career pathway they would like to follow.

From there, applications to be involved in the program will be made.

By Term Four this year, a cohort of about 45 students will be picked to begin the program in Term One 2018.

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