St Phillip's students begin TAFE lessons under RDA plan to meet skills gap in advanced manufacturing and aviation in Tomaree and Williamtown

NEW OPPORTUNITY: The Year 10, 11 and 12 students from across the Hunter who have begun a 'STEMship' this semester, including Corlette's Angus Crockett, 16, kneeling third from right.
NEW OPPORTUNITY: The Year 10, 11 and 12 students from across the Hunter who have begun a 'STEMship' this semester, including Corlette's Angus Crockett, 16, kneeling third from right.

A trade in electrical or plumbing calls to Corlette student Angus Crocket, 16, who was among those selected to study a ‘STEMship’ this term.

Like a traineeship or apprenticeship a STEMship is a new vocational education training pathway devised as an alternative to university, with a strong focus on STEM –  science, technology, engineering and maths. 

Beyond a basic trade, the STEMship aims to give the 16 inductees the chance to work within the highly technical defence, advanced manufacturing, engineering, resources, electronics and aerospace industries.

“School was intimidating at times, and TAFE can be too, but this is another way of getting to where I want to be,” Angus said.

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While many of his Year 11 class mates at St Phillip’s returned to school on April 30, Angus got on the bus to Tighes Hill for TAFE, where he and 15 other Hunter students began the course.

Five of them, counting Angus, are from St Phillip’s.  They are Joel Schneeberger, David Newman, Edward Begley and Jack Gair.

“It was Jack who told me about it and I decided to apply too,” Angus said.

“Maths was one of my strong subjects and I really enjoyed metalwork in Year 7, as well as the woodwork and technology subjects I’ve studied since then.”

The STEMship will give the students a Certificate III in engineering and involve work placement.

“I’m keen on going to Jetstar if I can,” Angus said.

“A friend of mine got an apprenticeship with them and aviation interests me.”

An initiative of Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter, Training Services NSW (NSW Department of Industry) and TAFE NSW, STEMship is Australia’s first STEM based, pre-employment program which provides a VET pathway for secondary high school students.

TAFE NSW head of SkillsPoint innovative manufacturing, robotics and science, Karen Humphreys, said the STEMship was outcome orientated.

“In addition to the training and work experience, the 16 students will have the opportunity to gain employment in some of the Hunter Region’s most innovative organisations,” Ms Humphreys said.

“With access to over 25,000 employers, TAFE NSW knows what industry is looking for from prospective employees, so it’s our job to ensure students are job ready and equipped with real, practical skills and experience needed to be in demand and get the job they want.”

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced an additional $50,000 to the STEMship program, in February, with a view to increasing the take up of these subjects.

Learn more and view courses online at www.tafensw.edu.au.

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