Training the “New Collar” workforce

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St Patrick’s Technical College is expanding and will soon be training the computer software engineers of the future as part of a national program which aims to boost the skills of Australia’s youth.

Thanks to a new course at the college, Year 11 and 12 students can now study an industry-level qualification in software development under the guidance of a global Defence industries company.

StPatsTech will introduce a TAFE SA Certificate IV in Programming in 2018 as part of the P-TECH program. Partnering with Saab Australia, students will be given a unique opportunity to learn from one of the Defence industries biggest players and set themselves up for a career that is in high demand. Saab Australia joined other P-TECH partners Century Engineering and PMB Defence to sign a Memorandum of Understanding at the Adelaide Careers and Employment Expo on May 26.

StPatsTech principal Rob Thomas said he believed the College was the first secondary school in South Australia to offer the Certificate IV course to students.

“We hope this will lead these students directly into the local Defence industries workforce and helps them broaden their career horizons,’’ Mr Thomas said.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Saab Australia and working with TAFE SA to offer this course to students. It is really aimed at those students who are interested in technology and computers but with a trade focus.’’

Dean Rosenfield, Managing Director Saab Australia, said the P-TECH partnership with St Patrick’s Technical College allows Saab Australia to play an active role in the learning and career development of its future technical workforce.

“With so many significant defence industry projects planned for the next 20 to 30 years in Australia we will require a new level of people with specialist technical skills,’’ Mr Rosenfield said.

“This partnership ensures secondary students will learn the technological skills, understand industry demands and gain a much higher level of practical experience before emerging into the workforce. This new partnership further expands Saab Australia’s work in building defence industry capacity and delivering world-class solutions for future key projects.”

TAFE SA’s Acting Director, Business, Information Technology and Justice Hilary Ashworth said the program with Saab Australia provides students with a career pathway enabling direct entry into employment within the growing national defence industry.

Describing the P-TECH Saab Australia course as exciting, Ms Ashworth said: “TAFE SA is proud to be providing the training and educational expertise to ensure students learn the skills that innovative companies like Saab Australia need for software engineers of the future.”

“TAFE SA is increasing our focus on responding to the training requirements of the defence industry and highly values working with StPatsTech to train young people to meet the industry’s skills needs.”

The P-TECH program will see Saab Australia develop a project for students to gain skills relevant to the industry, mentoring, and work experience.