Head start for young stu­dents

A Try-a-trade pro­gram aims to en­gage in­dige­nous stu­dents to train in spe­cific trade ar­eas to gain full-time work in the build­ing and con­struc­tion in­dus­try.

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THE PEER VEET train­ing and ap­pren­tice­ship cen­tre, in con­junc­tion with the South Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment, is run­ning a new pro­gram.

The ini­tial pro­ject has at­tracted 12 young in­dige­nous stu­dents in Years 10 and 11 from col­leges and high schools in South Aus­tralia and is de­liv­ered two days a week over eight weeks at the PEER VEET train­ing cen­tre in Al­bert Park.

The pro­gram pro­vides stu­dents with a range of work­place skills, in­clud­ing white­card, oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety, first aid, elec­tri­cal res­cue, plumb­ing, hand and power tools and dis­man­tle, as­sem­ble and fab­ri­cate elec­tro-tech­nol­ogy com­po­nents skills and qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

The skills will give stu­dents an un­der­stand­ing and con­fi­dence to op­er­ate at a ba­sic level in the build­ing and con­struc­tion in­dus­try and is ex­pected to help them gain an ap­pren­tice­ship.

Naomi Martin is a Year 10 in­dige­nous stu­dent from Woodville High school who heard of the pro­gram through her home group teacher Regina Wil­son.

Naomi started the pro­gram to give her­self a head­start in her ca­reer when she grad­u­ates.

‘‘I am re­ally en­joy­ing the pro­gram and learn­ing new skills, es­pe­cially in the work­shops with tools,’’ she says.

‘‘I now know what would be ex­pected of me in the work­place and what skills and knowl­edge I would need to be an ap­pren­tice.

‘‘I am happy that I have been given the op­por­tu­nity and for the en­cour­age­ment from my fam­ily to fol­low my in­ter­ests.

‘‘I am look­ing for­ward to com­plet- ing the pro­gram and un­der­tak­ing an ap­pren­tice­ship when I fin­ish school.’’

PEER VEET chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Boyce says it is keen to sup­port tal­ented young in­dige­nous stu­dents with the train­ing and men­tor­ing they need to suc­ceed and con­trib­ute to the growth of the build­ing and con­struc­tion in­dus­try.

‘‘It is great to see that the strong sup­port from the South Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment and sec­ondary schools has led to the suc­cess­ful en­gage­ment of these stu­dents in the Try-a-Trade pro­gram,’’ he says.

Isaac Wee­tra, who is the men­tor with the Try-a-Trade pro­gram, says it is giv­ing in­dige­nous stu­dents a real un­der­stand­ing of life in a trade as well as a solid foun­da­tion to gain em­ploy­ment in an ap­pren­tice­ship.

‘‘We aim to in­crease the pool of South Aus­tralian skilled in­dige­nous peo­ple to ben­e­fit in­dige­nous peo­ple and our in­dus­tries,’’ he says.

PEER VEET will de­liver the next Try-a-Trade pro­gram in Au­gust, with an­other pro­gram sched­uled for Oc­to­ber aimed to­wards at­tract­ing in­dige­nous sports peo­ple into trade ap­pren­tice­ships.

In­quiries: www.peer.com.au

Naomi Martin is part of PEER VEET’s Try-a-Trade pro­gram.

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