Tread your own path

Mercury (Hobart) - - CAREERS - LAU­REN AHWAN

JOBS once re­served for univer­sity grad­u­ates in­creas­ingly will be avail­able to those pur­su­ing vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of higher-level ap­pren­tice­ships.

A pi­lot pro­gram de­signed to en­cour­age those without a univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion to take up ca­reers in the pro­fes­sional, busi­ness, IT and fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tors has re­sulted in more than 160 peo­ple re­cently start­ing an 18-month ap­pren­tice­ship.

The ap­pren­tices will un­der­take diploma, ad­vanced diploma or as­so­ci­ate de­gree qual­i­fi­ca­tions as part of their train­ing, al­though Sara Ca­plan, na­tional skills leader with pro­gram de­vel­oper Price­wa­ter­house­C­oop­ers, be­lieves bach­e­lor de­gree qual­i­fi­ca­tions may be of­fered in fu­ture years.

As well as PwC, other or­gan­i­sa­tions to take ap­pren­tices in­clude Wool­worths, Gold Coast Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal, the Bank of Mel­bourne, the Bank of South Aus­tralia, CSIRO, the ACT Gov­ern­ment and sev­eral IT and min­ing com­pa­nies.

Ca­plan said the pro­gram, based on a sim­i­lar scheme op­er­at­ing in the UK, pro­vided greater ca­reer op­tions for those who go straight into work after school.

“This is for peo­ple that thought they couldn’t as­pire to th­ese jobs and ca­reer op­tions be­cause they haven’t been to univer­sity,’’ Ca­plan said.

“[It is] also for peo­ple that want to move from a front­line job to a man­age­rial or su­per­vi­sory or lead­er­ship role.

“This is about say­ing that if you’re not the per­son that wants to go to uni, you can do it [en­ter a pro­fes­sion] a dif­fer­ent way.’’

Ali­cia Luck, 29, is among the first co­hort of higher-level ap­pren­tices, un­der­tak­ing a Diploma in Man­age­ment at Wool­worths.

Luck, who started with the re­tail gi­ant while she was still at school, said univer­sity was never an op­tion for her and her ca­reer would have stalled without the ap­pren­tice­ship.

“I was def­i­nitely not an A+ stu­dent [at school] by any means,’’ said Luck, who is now an as­sis­tant store man­ager.

“Com­plet­ing this ap­pren­tice­ship will al­low me to progress my ca­reer while I still get to do what I love [work­ing on the shop floor].”

Pic­ture: CARLY EARL

BRIGHT FU­TURE: Wool­worths as­sis­tant store man­ager Ali­cia Luck is in the first co­hort of stu­dents study­ing for a Diploma of Man­age­ment.

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