Monthly Archives: October 2017

StPatsTech farewell to Holden

When you drive around Adelaide’s northern suburbs one brand of vehicle is seen more than any other – the Holden. The much-loved badge will today cease production in Australia when Holden’s Elizabeth plant closes its doors.

One person responsible for more than 10 Holdens, including classic models like the Torana, on northern roads is StPatsTech Old Scholar Dale Williams, 23.

St Patrick’s Technical College has reflected on its association with the company and its impact on the northern region.

Holden lineup (002)

Dale, who lives at Two Wells, did his apprenticeship at Holden after graduating from StPatsTech’s electrotechnology program. He began his electrical apprenticeship in 2012 but left as soon as he completed his training.

“I was about half way through my electrical apprenticeship when they said they were closing. So all of us apprentices kind of knew the writing was on the wall in terms of us not having a job. There were 10 apprentices at the time and we all knew there would be no job after and as soon as were signed off we were out the door.”

“I left Holden on January 30, 2016 and I was able to get another job within a month. I now work in the lift industry and it’s something completely different.’’

Dale said after the announcement of the closure the mood at the factory changed. He said it was sad to see colleagues and friends made redundant over the past several years.

Dale is pictured with his dad Chris during one of Holden’s farewell events. Dale was able to put his first car, a 1976 Holden LX Torana with a V8 355 Stroker motor on the assembly line. Dale has a collection of more than 10 Holdens which he has restored.

New College Principal

St Patrick’s Technical College has announced a change of leadership after more than a decade under the helm of foundation principal, Mr Rob Thomas.

Mr Danny Deptula will take over as principal from Mr Thomas from January 2018. Mr Deptula’s appointment was announced to staff by Catholic Education SA at the Edinburgh North campus this week.

Mr Deptula said he was excited to take on the leadership role and would be building on the positive work done by the College over the past decade.

“I am really looking forward to working with the staff, students and the College community. I have been working in the northern area for over 20 years and I am passionate about creating the opportunities which help to change the lives of the region’s young people, and ensuring they have the same prospects as other students throughout the state.’’

Mr Deptula’s role as deputy principal at Thomas More College has seen him expand the school’s VET program over the past few years. He said stepping up to principal in a specialist technical vocational education and training school was an exciting opportunity to further his knowledge and he was looking forward to working with the College’s board, staff, stakeholders and business and training partners.

Dr Neil McGoran, Director of Catholic Education South Australia, said Mr Deptula was an experienced educational leader, having undertaken various leadership roles within Catholic Education SA throughout his career.

“He has a deep personal faith, a strong commitment to providing flexible learning pathways and improving learning outcomes for all students,’’ Dr McGoran said.

“Danny brings to the position, energy, enthusiasm and high expectations for ensuring excellence in teaching and learning. I am confident that his personal and professional qualities, skills and knowledge will be an asset to the leadership of St Patrick’s Technical College.”

Mr Thomas also welcomed the news, congratulating Mr Deptula who he described as “a long-time friend to the StPatsTech community’’.

“In his role at Thomas More, Danny has actively promoted to students and families the benefits of the pathway to employment offered by programs at St Patrick’s.”

As StPatsTech foundation principal, Mr Thomas has overseen the development of the specialist technical and trade training school since its establishment in 2006 as the Australian Technical College – Northern Adelaide. During his tenure over 800 students have gained apprenticeships and the College has drawn acclaim for its success from across government, industry, employers and the education and training sector.

An educator with more than 40 years’ experience, Mr Thomas announced at the start of 2017 that he would be retiring at year’s end. He said he would miss the school, staff, students and College community but was proud of what had been achieved in the past decade.

Mr Deptula is married with two sons and brings to his new position 23 years of teaching and educational leadership experience

Defence industries open for Northern Adelaide students

As Holden’s Elizabeth plant closes its doors on Friday, a local high school is offering students 21st century alternatives in emerging industries.

St Patrick’s Technical College in Edinburgh North is at the forefront of helping industries meet future employment needs by training senior high school students in the skills identified as lacking by local Defence and advanced manufacturing companies.

Working closely with Adelaide-based Defence industry heavyweights Century Engineering, PMB Defence and Saab Australia through the Federal Governments $5.1 million P-TECH program, StPatsTech has developed projects to ensure students learn real-world skills sought-after by employers.

The college boasts a 98 per cent employment rate for graduates thanks to its Entrepreneurial Education model. The College encourages students to play to their strengths and abilities and tailors its programs to suit specific trade areas and also offers a unique School-based Apprenticeship model with extensive, strong links to industry.

As local, traditional manufacturing gives way to global economies and technological advancement, workers need to pivot their skills to ensure they are both employable and meeting the demands on industry, StPatsTech College Business Development Manager Patrick Kelly said this week. He said it was vitally important for South Australia’s emerging industries that today’s teenagers engage now with training to ensure multi-billion dollar projects earmarked for the region can source the skilled workers necessary for production.

P-TECH’s focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects will put students at the forefront of 21st careers. From 2018, Year 11 students can study both their senior school certificate and a Certificate IV in Programming at StPatsTech. This IT stream has been developed in partnership with Saab Australia and aims to produce the next generation of software engineers who have hands-on knowledge to bring engineering designers’ ideas to life.

Mr Kelly said 2017 has seen the conversation about the value of vocational education and training take on a national focus.

“Often seen as the poor cousin to university education we are delighted to see universities, government and business recognise the capacity and importance of vocational education and training,” Mr Kelly said.

Earlier this month we heard from Jennifer Westacott, CEO of the Business Council of Australia, who spoke about a new plan for tertiary education and training. In a speech to the National Press Club, Ms Westacott said Australia needed to be at the forefront of new technologies and ensuring the workforce can meet those requirements or it would be left behind globally.

“Our current occupational structures are also overly focussed on credentialising too many things as university qualifications. And, of course, this credentialising problem stems from the cultural problem that VET has a lower status than higher education,” Ms Westacott said.

“Once and for all we need to fix this cultural bias, reinforced by funding bias, that a VET qualification is a second-class qualification to a university one. It isn’t. In a world where machines and people will work together and technical skills will be needed by all workers, that cultural bias can only create damage.’’

Mr Kelly said Friday’s final closure of Holden’s Elizabeth plant was a sad day for the community. The company had employed some of the school’s students as apprentices as well as the College’s Deputy Principal Terry Neville, who began his apprenticeship at the plant in 1974.