Monthly Archives: June 2017

Life changing scholarships

Scholarships can change lives and if you needed more proof of this, look no further than 16 year old, Edwije Pendo, from St Patrick’s Technical College.

Edwije’s enrolment in the College’s Construction program this year was only possible thanks to The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program. This scholarship, aimed at supporting disadvantaged children and youth through education from preschool to tertiary studies, has been a turning point in Edwije’s life and career ambitions.

“The Smith Family gave me a scholarship to enter the school,’’ she said. “This meant that I only had to contribute a small sum of money. If it wasn’t for their support I would have missed out on a life-changing opportunity. The support from The Smith Family meant that I was able to have the best education at the best school.”

Edwije, who arrived in Australia as a five-year-old in 2006 from a Tanzanian refugee camp, hopes to secure a school-based apprenticeship as a first fix carpenter.

With three brothers and five sisters, Edwije’s family struggled financially following their arrival as her father’s building qualifications were not recognised in Australia. When her father stopped working long hours in a local factory to begin full-time studies the family were reliant on Centrelink benefits.

So in 2011, a year after they became Australian citizens, the family joined The Smith Family. Edwije was in the charity’s Student to Student program to help improve her English skills.

“One day a letter came from The Smith Family inviting all Year 10 students to attend a tour and information night at St Patrick’s Technical College. The College presents unique opportunities for students to start a trade and pathways through school-based apprenticeships,’’ she said.

“I thought this was a great opportunity for me to chase my passion.’’

Edwije said her teachers’ encouragement and support in the classroom and workshop had helped build her confidence and inspire her to chase her dreams.

“I really enjoy all the lessons because they are focused on what you want to do and you are not learning irrelevant stuff,’’ she said.

Edwije said being the only girl in her class was not an issue as the students all shared common interests in trade. She hopes to encourage more women to take up roles in male-dominated industries, like carpentry.

“I now feel quite confident entering a workforce that is male-dominated. I feel that it will give me an opportunity to empower and encourage women that stereotypes are barriers that we must learn to overcome.

“I would like to learn the business of carpentry so I will potentially have my own company and employ young people. I want to be able to help the community as it has so generously helped me.’’

For more information about St Patrick’s Technical College’s scholarships contact 8209 3700. For information about The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program contact 8224 1400.

The workforce evolving door

By Cara Jenkin, The Advertiser, Saturday 17 July 2017 – Pathways to a successful career can come from all directions, as one heavy diesel mechanic has discovered.

Aden Bird, 22, is a heavy diesel mechanic with CMV Trucks and St Patrick’s Technical College old scholar.

“I left Xavier College from year 11 to study year 12 at St Patrick’s because I really wanted to get into a trade and the StPatsTech mechanical program gave me a better chance to do that,’’ Aden said.

Aden said he liked the fact that StPatsTech Automotive teacher Mark Valente is a mechanic by trade as well as a teacher, so was able to impart real-world practical skills to the students.

Aden1“The thing about StPatsTech is that it doesn’t have just normal teachers who haven’t experienced the things that you want to do.’’

Aden was able to secure a full-time apprenticeship during Year 12 following a successful block of work experience with CMV Trucks.

The company has been a great supporter of StPatsTech having recently taken on another apprentice from the school following Aden gaining his qualification.

Aden said he enjoyed earning his own money during his apprenticeship and had been able to put together a $30,000 to $40,000 tool box as well as more than a dozen cars or motorbikes as hobby projects.

“My trade is also recognised worldwide so there’s no limit for me anymore. I would like to travel and maybe work overseas somewhere like Dubai where the diesel industry is very large.’’

St Patrick’s Technical College is located in Adelaide’s northern suburbs. Its unique education style sees students study their SACE as well as trade qualifications through the school’s partnership with TAFE SA.

SA budget investment in apprentices

St Patrick’s Technical College has welcomed the South Australian Government’s 2017/18 budget measures to encourage more youth into apprenticeships.

Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis announced an extra $8.1 million over three years for the Jobs Accelerator Grants.

For local small businesses, this could be a great step to putting on a School-based Apprentice. Businesses with payrolls less than $600,000 will be eligible for a grant of $9000 over two years for each new job of 22 hours or more per week.

Businesses with payroll between $600,000 and $5 million will now be eligible for up to $15,000 over two years for each full-time equivalent apprentice. Both packages will be backdated to July 2016.

StPatsTech Principal, Rob Thomas, said the extra $5000 per package would help encourage investment in apprenticeships in the local area.

With approximately 800 Year 11 and 12 StPatsTech students commencing apprenticeships in the past decade, Mr Thomas said the specialist technical and vocational college had introduced innovative programs like P-TECH and new courses to keep abreast of the skills needs in Adelaide industries.

He said the College’s ability to respond the industry skills needs was even more important now with the closure of automotive manufacturing at the Holden plant in the northern suburbs and the emerging Defence and Advanced Manufacturing industries in the region.

“We are very excited to be introducing an Information Technology Certificate IV Programming course in partnership with Saab Australia and TAFE SA for 2018,’’ Mr Thomas said.

“Working collaboratively with industry and having built those relationships over the past 10 years, means StPatsTech is uniquely positioned to respond to addressing the skills gaps across a range of industries.’’

Mr Thomas encouraged the College’s current employer partners and any business considering employing an apprentice, to access the Jobs Accelerator Grants from the South Australian Government.

For more information please contact StPatsTech Communications Officer, Hayley Odgers, on 8209 3709 or

P-TECH Engineering project

St Patrick’s Technical College and Century Engineering’s P-TECH partnership has seen Year 11 students learn the importance of maintaining industry standards when it comes to welding.

The Year 11 Engineering students were accompanied by Century Engineering’s Andrew Sinclair and Simon Doe to Intertek AIS (Adelaide Inspection Services) at Wingfield recently. The field trip was designed to help students understand why quality assurance is important and how it is achieved within the engineering industry.

The students, under the guidance of Century Engineering, are working on a project (as part of P-TECH) that will see them undertake a gas metal arc welding project to the requirements of Australian Standard AS 15541.1. Once their welding project is complete, their work will be taken to Intertek AIS for testing against the standard.

The project is designed to help bridge the gap in welding standards and help students gain valuable, employable skills.

CENTURY AIS VISITDamien Lynch, Manager, Mechanical Testing Asset Integrity Management, gave a presentation about Intertek, explaining the business and the services it provides to a variety of industry sectors including the Defence Industry. He also explained the importance of the quality standards of welding and the consequences of failing to reach these standards.

A variety of methods used in testing welding sample were demonstrated and the students were shown both good and poor examples.

St Patrick’s Technical College is South Australia’s only school selected to be part of the Australian Government’s P-TECH program. P-TECH aims to bring real-life skills to youth while focusing on science, technology, engineering and maths subjects and encouraging innovation. It is unique as it brings industry partners into the class room in partnership with educators.