Minister visit shines spotlight on apprenticeships

Strengthening trades and access to jobs in the Hunter was a focus of Minister Repacholi’s visit to HVTC earlier today.

The newly elected Member for the Hunter toured the renowned Rutherford Skills Centre, where more than 340 electrical, mechanical and fabrication students are learning core trade skills through HVTC’s Registered Training Organisation (RTO), the Central Coast Community College.

HVTC Group CEO Sharon Smith said it was a great opportunity for the Minister to get a taste of some of the quality trade training on offer right here in the Hunter.

“The Minister is a former tradesperson who started his own career as an apprentice fitter and turner, so he knows firsthand the value of apprenticeships in giving young people valuable trade skills and setting them up for life,” she said.

“Importantly, he recognises the importance of giving apprentices quality training, which is why we were proud to showcase our state-of-the-art training facilities, led by our team of passionate trade trainers.

“It was also a great opportunity for the Minister to meet some of our students, including Bradley Robinson, a fourth-year engineering fabrication apprentice hosted to Robinson Custom Fabrications who was recently awarded HVTC’s RTO Student of the Year.

“The Minister spoke about Bradley in Parliament earlier this year after Bradley was a finalist for Student of the Year in the Community Colleges Australia Community Education Student of the Year Awards.

“Our facility is kitted out with quality equipment and technology to enhance the learning experience of our trade students. Apprentices like Bradley are learning core hands-on skills with the support and guidance of our trainers, that will benefit their careers both now and in the future.”

With Australia grappling skills shortages and industries crying out for skilled workers, Ms Smith said there has never been a better time to undertake an apprenticeship.

“An apprenticeship is a great starting point for anyone in their career, especially school leavers transitioning into work for the first time. You get formal training and practical on-the-job experience to enhance your skill development, a paid wage, a stable job for four years and the opportunity to work alongside experienced and highly skilled people,” she said.

“Importantly, many of our students benefit from fee-free training thanks to the NSW Government’s Smart and Skilled Program. This means there’s no course fees to pay and no study debt accumulated at the end of their training, which is a smart choice.

“Depending on what stage of their career journey they’re at, some candidates may be eligible for subsidised training through the NSW Government’s ACE (Adult & Community Education) program.

“As an adult community education provider, the College also delivers a range of ACE funded courses like RSA, RCG, White Card, and First Aid, giving students the opportunity to upskill, to start their careers, re-enter the workforce, pursue further study, or obtain valuable life skills for their futures.

“As an RTO and Group Training Organisation, HVTC Group has the capability and resources to train people, connect them to businesses for employment and empower them to reach their full potential.”

Minister Repacholi agreed that more people should consider a trade as we continue to face significant skills shortages.

“I didn't go to university, but my life has turned out pretty well. I’ve made the most of all the opportunities afforded to me throughout my career. This is all because I got a trade,” he said.

“Go out and chase what you're interested in; chase a future that you'll enjoy. I did it, and I wouldn't change a thing.”

Minister Repacholi visits HVTC