College pioneer, Max Davids, passes away

MaxDavids (Demo)

The College received news this morning of the sad passing of board member, Mr Max Davids.

Mr Davids had served on the board of St Patrick’s Technical College, Edinburgh North, since its establishment as the Australian Technical College – Northern Adelaide (ATC-NA) in 2005.

In addition to his years of involvement with St Patrick’s Technical College, Mr Davids had been involved in formulating and instituting Vocational Education & Training programs and initiatives for the young people of Northern Adelaide in his role as a board member then manager of the Northern Adelaide Development Board during the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s.  He also previously served as a voluntary director of TAFE SA.

During 2003, in his role as manager of the Northern Adelaide Development Board, Mr Davids formed the Northern Adelaide Industry Group (NAIG), an alliance of regional employers and business leaders with a brief to investigate best practice in vocational skills training and employment pathways for young people.  The NAIG identified the Australian Government’s announcement of the Australian Technical Colleges (ATC) program in early 2005, as an ideal opportunity to develop an education and training model that would address skills needs in the region and promote pride and excellence in the teaching and acquisition of trade skills at the secondary school level.

Mr Davids approached Catholic Education SA (CESA) seeking to develop a partnership in order to bid for the rights to develop the ATC designated by the Australian Government for Northern Adelaide.  With the support of the Archdiocese of Adelaide through Archbishop Wilson and then CESA Director, Mr Allan Dooley, Mr Davids led the formation of the interim board of the ATC – Northern Adelaide which was successful in developing the tender to establish and operate the new school which opened in 2007.  Industry support was an essential ingredient of the successful tender.

Throughout the tender development period, Mr Davids used his considerable government, industry and training networks to enlist support for the school from some of Northern Adelaide’s largest employers and industry advisory bodies including GM Holden, the Weeks Group, Priority Engineering Services, Australian Aerospace and Hirotec.  Representatives from a number of these organisations were also recruited by Mr Davids to join him as inaugural directors of the College.

Mr Davids remained on the College board from this time, including through the transition period from Australian Government ownership to governance under Catholic Education SA (and the subsequent renaming to St Patrick’s Technical College).  Throughout he was tireless in garnering industry support for the College and its programs.  He continued to work with industry and employers across the Northern Adelaide region to foster new partnerships for the College that presented opportunities to young people to access relevant, contemporary education and training leading directly to successful employment outcomes.

Mr Davids’ significant contribution to the College was acknowledged in 2011 with the board approving the naming of the College’s highest award for a school-based apprentice in his honour.  In 2012 he was a nominee for the Archbishop’s Awards for service to the education of young South Australians.

Mr Davids had a visionary understanding of the links between education, training and the formation of young people; he also recognised how their skills development directly impacted upon the local economy.

Mr Davids’ knowledge of Vocational Education and Training and its context within the Northern Adelaide region was instrumental in ensuring successful outcomes for young people since the College’s first year of operation.  The collaborative approach he demonstrated in his work with local industry and employers guided the College’s innovative methodology in developing programs.  This has led to continued, sustained successful outcomes for young people.

There is no doubt that the creative approach led by Mr Davids has played a significant role in assisting over 520 young people since 2007 make the transition from school to employment in apprenticeships via St Patrick’s Technical College.