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Partnership gives TAFE NSW Lithgow students head start in careers

TAFE NSW Lithgow

Partnership gives TAFE NSW Lithgow students head start in careers

Twelve Lithgow electrical and mechanical apprentices have graduated from a TAFE NSW, Energy Australia, Skillset (Thales Group) and HVTC (Centennial Coal) apprentice skills centre program this week.

The program is designed for the apprentices to maximize their learning and enhance their skills for a career in electrical and mechanical industries, which are experiencing an increase of skills shortages.

TAFE NSW research suggests roles for electricians will be the number one occupation for employment and growth in NSW’s engineering and electrotechnology industry between 2018 and 2021. It also found that there are significant job vacancies in this industry with 70% of advertised jobs in NSW for metal fitters and machinists are currently and expected to be unfilled.

TAFE NSW Fitting and Machining Teacher, Ron Hawkins, said the students were selected by their training organisation and host employer to complete a six-month program alongside their apprenticeship course. The program consisted of studying at TAFE NSW Lithgow four days per week and one day on-the-job with their employer.

“The apprentices have learnt a broad range of hands-on skills not just in their chosen field of study but across electrical, fitting and machining, welding and fabrication industries,” Mr Hawkins said.

Skillset Workforce Manager Service Delivery, Janine Martin, said, “Skillset were thrilled to be a partner in the program and work with TAFE NSW and Thales Group to offer apprentices access to training which sets them up for a successful career.”

“We are noticing that the program has boosted the apprentices’ confidence and cemented important life skills before they commence their formal trade training,” Ms Martin said.

Thales Group Continuous Improvement Manager, David Forbes, said, “The annual program proved to be really valuable to our organization.

“It enables apprentices to progress a lot quicker, reaching their maturity earlier which helps to increase the organisations’ productivity,” Mr Forbes said.

“The apprentices also develop important skills such as teamwork, communication, presentation, budgeting and developing spreadsheets which isn’t covered as part of their trade.”

TAFE NSW Certificate IV in Mechanical Engineering student, Josh Winter, who moved from Melbourne to complete his apprenticeship in Lithgow with Thales Group, said he is enjoying learning about electrical processes as well as increasing his knowledge across his chosen trade.

“I’ve learnt how to wire up a power point, weld, solder and make circuit boards. The way the industry’s technology is evolving, I will need electrical skills to be a fitter and turner,” Mr Winter said.

“I’m really enjoying working for Thales Group and learning all that I can at TAFE NSW.”

TAFE NSW is Australia’s largest training provider, offering over 1,200 courses, from certificates to degrees. The Lithgow community can explore course and career options by visiting the TAFE NSW InfoFest between 24 and 28 June 2019 or attend online information sessions at

Media contact: Emma Curtis, TAFE NSW Media Officer, (02) 6338 2509, mobile 0427 901 515.