Monthly Archives: March 2018

Students to share knowledge in Cambodia

As we head into Easter, St Patrick’s Technical College is preparing to again send a group of students to Cambodia to continue their work in remote villages of Siem Reap.

The students take inspiration from the Pope’s message of Faith In Action – to do more than speak of good deeds, but to put those good intentions into tangible actions which improve the lives of others.

For the last several years the College has sent a group of students and staff to Cambodia in a bid to improve the lives and education of local children. Students have laid water pipelines, created elevated paths so students do not need to wade through floodplains to access school, and upgraded school buildings.

The focus on the trip is for students to use the trade skills they have gained while at the College to improve the lives of children in Cambodia.

CP Day 2 (1)

The students also donate books, learning resources, dental hygiene packs and even footballs from Central Districts Football Club to the children in the region.

Leading the 2018 trip is Year 12 Coordinator John Neate. Mr Neate said the pilgrimage for the students gave them a greater understanding of the world and enabled them to see how other people live.

“We want our students to broaden their horizons not just in the workplace but emotionally and spiritually as well,’’ Mr Neate said.

The Elizabeth Club of Rotary has donated money to help buy resources and assist students who otherwise could not afford to take part make the life-changing journey.

The College will start fundraising shortly to enable the group to my resources and building materials during this year’s trip. The trip is schedule for October.


Bradley revs up in the water

17-year-old St Patrick’s Technical College student Bradley Grimes will spend the upcoming school holidays hoping to prove he could be one of Australia’s next Olympians.

Bradley, who is studying StPatsTech College’s Automotive program, will be competing in the Georgina Hope Foundation Australian Age Swimming Championships in Sydney over eight days from April 21.

He will be competing in the 17/18 Men’s 1500m, 400m and 200m freestyle and hopes to impress selectors looking for the next generation of Olympians ahead of 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The national titles come after a hugely successful South Australia Age Championships for Bradley in January. He walked away with 13 medals including gold in the men’s 17 and under 1500m and 400m freestyle and 100m backstroke; seven slivers and three bronze medals, including in the Open Men’s 1500 freestyle.

Swimming under Playford Aquatic Club coach Carole Margrison, Bradley represented South Australia at last year’s Pacific School Games finishing the event with three bronze medals.

Bradley trains eight times a week and is aiming for make the next FINA World Junior Championships and in the long-term Commonwealth and Olympic Games.


Industry links brings jobs to youth

One of Australia’s largest producers of quality building products is also one of St Patrick’s Technical College’s strongest industry allies.

Stratco has taken seven StPatsTech students for apprenticeships in the past five years and one of its senior executives was so impressed with the College he now sits on the StPatsTech College Board as a director.

Michael Olszewski manages Stratco SA’s trade sales and oversees its rigorous apprenticeship program and has been with the company for 30 years.

“Five years ago we were looking for apprentices and we were not getting the quality so I started ringing around high schools in the Northern area and I contacted StPatsTech,’’ Mr Olszewski said.

“I went and did a presentation and we opened the work place up to the College’s work experience program. As a result of that we were able to identify some really good students.’’

Mr Olszewski said the StPatsTech board is industry-focussed, which means the College is able to better prepare students to meet employer needs.

Mr Olszewski said Stratco has a rigorous screening program to ensure the right person is in the right apprenticeship. This includes work experience blocks, aptitude testing, physical tests, medical reviews and a probationary period of employment.

“Before we sign anyone up we will offer them part-time employment to give us a chance to watch them. We are looking at things like work ethic, enthusiasm, punctuality, cleanliness and social skills. Most of our apprentices do come from StPats because of the quality of the students in showing these skills,’’ Mr Olszewski said.

“Most of our apprentices are from StPatsTech because of the preparation done at the College for the students to enter the workforce. Those work ready skills are often what gets the StPatsTech students over the line.

“And we as a company invest a lot of time and money into our staff so we hope they will be loyal to us in return.’’

Mr Olszewski said the close working relationship between Stratco and StPatsTech had resulted in positive outcomes for the six apprentices.

Kjel Lillie – SbAT 2017


Keen to get straight into the workforce after graduating high school, 19-year-old Kjel Lillie knew he wanted to secure an apprenticeship.

Originally interested in plumbing, he soon realised it “wasn’t my cup of tea” and a stint at Stratco as part of StPatsTech’s extensive work experience program helped Kjel focus on his career path.

“I came here for work experience, I liked all the people here and the atmosphere,’’ Kjel said.

“I wanted to go straight into the workforce and I didn’t want to go to university and get a big HECS debt. I wanted to get an apprenticeship and knew I couldn’t do that at my old high school, so I switched to StPatsTech.

“At the end of my work experience time with Stratco, through StPatsTech, they offered me an apprenticeship and I was more than happy to take it.’’

Graduating Year 12 with his SACE in 2016, Kjel began his apprenticeship at the start of 2017 and says he loves the work.

“They are great to work for, all the bosses are really friendly. It’s definitely the best job I’ve ever had.’’

The feeling is mutual with Mr Olszewski describing Kjel as one of the best apprentices the company had seen.

“He’s reliable, honest and his attitude and work ethic is something the production managers have not seen before,’’ Mr Olszewski said.

Jacob Prescott – SbAT 2013


In 2011 Jacob Prescott knew he wanted to become a tradesman and saw St Patrick’s Technical College as his best pathway into an apprenticeship.

Then an up-and-coming footballer, Jacob was the recipient of the Central Districts Football Club scholarship to StPatsTech. Although a shoulder injury derailed his promising football career, Jacob has landed on his feet after securing an apprenticeship with Stratco. While his football injury impacted on his work, Stratco could see the potential in Jacob and have supported him through his apprenticeship.

Jacob said the company offered him the opportunity to move into the business-side of the trade by becoming an estimator. Using his trade knowledge, Jacob’s role is customer-based, providing quotes for material, supply and installation of Stratco’s products.

He said one of the best things about the company was the positive working environment.

Jacob was recently promoted as the Head Estimator for Stratco’s Alice Springs store and has begun a traineeship in sales.

World Plumbers’ Day 2018

On Sunday, March 11, World Plumbing Day was celebrated on mass around the world – bigger and better than ever seen before.

Here at StPatsTech, we celebrated World Plumbing Day with our plumbing students on Thursday, 15 March. The students were treated them to a bacon and egg breakfast. Steve and Marilyn, from Master Plumbers, as well as Gavin Day, from TAFE, were our guests.

A big thank you goes out to Ms Babic for organising the event.

St Patrick’s Day 2018

All things Irish will be celebrated at St Patrick’s Technical College today, including one aspiring auto electrician who has been following his passion of Irish dancing.

Ryan Harris, 16, from Elizabeth Vale is studying a Certificate II in Automotive Servicing Technology at StPatsTech by day and hitting the dance floor by night as one Cashel Irish Dancing’s most promising male dancers.

Ryan Harris has found his confidence through Irish Dancing.

Ryan Harris has found his confidence through Irish Dancing.

Ryan competed in the national titles in 2017 with his mixed four hand becoming one of the top Irish dancing groups in Australia. He has won numerous competitions and has quickly progressed through grades, according to his teacher Bianca Marron TSRG.

This St Patrick’s Day Ryan and his fellow dancers will be dancing their way across Adelaide with performances from Adelaide Oval to Parahills Community Club.

Ryan, who has autism, said Irish Dancing had helped him build confidence over the years. When he first began he was unable to perform solo on stage. But after three years of dancing with a group, Ryan was confident enough to perform a solo dance at 2017’s national championships. He hopes to compete solo again at this year’s national titles.

“I felt really accomplished. It can be hard for people with autism to perform our dances in front of a crowd of people,” Ryan said.

Ms Marron said Ryan had come on “in leaps and bounds” since joining the club two years ago and was one of four teenage boys dancing for Cashel Irish Dancing.

“We have four young men, which isn’t too bad, and it’s a really positive thing that three of those boys came into dancing late,’’ she said.

“It takes a lot of talent and a unique amount of skill to perfect Irish Dancing.’’

Ms Marron said Ryan and the other boys were looked up to at the club by the younger dancers.

StPatsTech College Principal Danny Deptula said Ryan was a great example of breaking stereotypes.

“Ryan has not let society’s stereotypes about mechanics or dancing hold him back from following his passion,’’ Mr Deptula said.

“The fact that he has been able to overcome difficulties he faced due to autism makes his achievement even more commendable. We wish him all the best for his competition events this year.’’

St Patrick’s Day has been marked by the College with a special Liturgy and Assembly. Archbishop Philip Wilson attended the event and students were treated to celebratory green donuts.

StPatsDay 2018 StPatsDay 2018 StPatsDay 2018

St Patrick's Day 2018 was celebrated at St Patrick's Technical College with a special assembly and liturgy and morning tea.

St Patrick’s Day 2018 was celebrated at St Patrick’s Technical College with a special assembly and liturgy and morning tea.

StPatsDay 2018 StPatsDay 2018 StPatsDay 2018 StPatsDay 2018 StPatsDay 2018


Women in trade celebrated

One of Australia biggest resources companies has seen a 15 per cent improvement in performance as a result of hiring more women, an International Women’s Day event heard today.

Northern Adelaide’s leading technical and trade high school, St Patrick’s Technical College, hosted employers, government, training groups and industry at a special International Women’s Day assembly this morning.

Speaking at the event, BHP’s Stephen Johnson said the company was working towards the goal of 50/50 gender equality workforce by 2025 because it made good business sense.

Guest speakers for International Women's Day at St Patrick's Technical College.

Guest speakers for International Women’s Day at St Patrick’s Technical College.

Mr Johnson said across the world, BHP’s top ten inclusive sites performed better than those who were not actively recruiting female workers. He said the sites with more women were safer, more productive and more innovative – which had real, positive business outcomes for the company.

“It’s about making inroads, it’s not about preferential treatment,’’ Mr Johnson said.

Also speaking at the event with Mr Johnson were BHP Olympic Dam employees Rebecca Hicks, Planner Work Management, Ross Vickers, Specialist Apprentices, and apprentice Carmen Bivone along with StPatsTech teacher Linda Burton.

Mr Vickers said of the last three apprentice intakes for Olympic Dam mine, 60 per cent of the apprentices were females. StPatsTech College student Laura Oakley began her apprenticeship at Olympic Dam last year.

“The message to the guys out there is you’ve got to step it up because it’s becoming very even,’’ Mr Vickers said.

He said there are employment opportunities as heavy diesel mechanics, electrical, metals and engineering and auto-electricians.

In 2016, BHP saw a global increase of 2.9 per cent of women in its workforce bringing the total number of women in BHP’s worldwide workforce to 20 per cent.

Ms Burton, who is an electrician and runs her own contracting business as well as teaching students at StPatsTech, told the gathering there was a high level of sexism in her industry when she began her apprenticeship.

“Of the 450 apprentices, there was just two girls and I was quite appalled at the time by the attitude of the men there,’’ Ms Burton said.

Linda Burton speaking during the event.

Linda Burton speaking during the event.

“But on the other side to that, there has been some really supportive people. I have always thought, if you can do the job you can earn the respect of other people around you.’’

Ms Burton said she worked harder, studied harder and pushed herself more to prove herself in her industry and that drive to succeed often made women leaders in their industry.

She said equality to her meant the best skilled, most qualified person for the job got the work no matter their sex.

“I want to know I got the job because I deserved it. You can call me a tradesman because I’ve earnt that title. And one more thing I wanted to say, if you don’t know why International Women’s Day is necessary, then it is necessary.’’

Ms Burton said women were still fighting for equal pay and to be taken seriously in workshops across the country.


Students log onto their future

St Patrick’s Technical College’s first intake of students studying information technology have logged on for the first time.

In what is believed to be a first in South Australia, Year 11 students are studying a Certificate IV in Programming which could lead to a career as a Software Engineer or Software Developer. The course is being run in partnership with TAFE SA and Saab Australia as part of the Australian Government’s $5.1 million P-TECH Australia program.

Cameron Grimmond (pictured at front) is among the first intake for the course at StPatsTech. A keen gamer, Cameron will study the dedicated information technology course for the two years of his senior schooling. He said this focus on IT was the deciding factor in opting to attend StPatsTech over his previous school.

“I’ve always been interested in IT and my grandma suggested I look at coming here (to StPatsTech),’’ Cameron said.

“I’m not really sure what I want to do as a career but I know it will be something to do with IT.’’

Cameron said he hoped the course would expand his skills and understanding. He was enjoying the hands-on nature of the course as well.

“I really like my teacher (Michael Gauci) as well. Knowing he’s a software engineer, it’s great. He has had a lot of experience in the past and knows what he’s talking about, which you can respect.’’

Teacher Michael Gauci directs students during their Certificate IV in Programming studies at St Patrick's Technical College.

Teacher Michael Gauci directs students during their Certificate IV in Programming studies at St Patrick’s Technical College.

Saab Australia’s Rebecca Giovine, Manager – People Development, visited the College recently to meet the students and introduce them to Saab Australia. The company will play an active and important role in the IT course by offering mentoring, work experience and inviting students to contribute ideas for projects.

“For us at Saab Australia, we want to partner with high schools in this capacity to help create the future pipeline of talent within the technology industry,’’ Ms Giovine said.

“It’s about fostering talented young people and opening their eyes to the potential career pathways in companies like Saab Australia.’’

Ms Giovine said she hoped the students would be set on the pathway to become software developers or computer scientists either through full-time employment following their Year 12 graduation or future tertiary student.

TAFE SA IT Lecturer Danny Sarris, who is delivering the program at StPatsTech alongside teacher Michael Gauci, said the program aligned with the State Government’s economic priorities and supported the focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.

“The Government has a big focus on STEM skills and future job roles which will involve more IT skills,” Mr Sarris said.

“As part of this innovative program, students will spend a dedicated day focusing on their programming studies including industry visits and mentorship with Saab Australia staff.

“Once they complete the two-year program, students have direct entry to the Diploma of Software Development and the Bachelor of IT at Flinders University or UniSA if they wish. They may also be eligible to undertake traineeships or internships with Saab Australia.”

Overseeing StPatsTech’s three P-TECH projects – others include an engineering course in partnership with Century Engineering and an electrotechnology course in partnership with PMB Defence – is Skilling Australia Foundation’s Toni Hartley.

Ms Hartley congratulated the students on taking control of their future by enrolling in the IT course at StPatsTech.

“Saab Australia recognised an opportunity to engage with young people based on an identified need for Diploma level software engineers as a direct result of the future defence industry projects in South Australia,’’ Ms Hartley said.

“We expect a workforce increase from 350 to around 600 over the next three years and not all those positions require a university degree. We expect to see entry level software engineering jobs for Certificate IV or Diploma level graduates.’’