Our apprentices are our industry’s future and influence how our organisation runs. The Hon. Tim Crakanthorp MP, Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education, Minister for the Hunter, visited our Cameron Park site on 28 April 2023 to meet with some of our apprentices and learn about careers pathway programs.
Ampcontrol offers apprentice pathways into roles and trades such as electrotechnology, electronics, mechanical engineering, fabrication and electrical fitting. Our Engineering Traineeship allows mechanical and electrical apprentices to develop skills and gain a qualification in engineering through TAFE.
Australia wide, Ampcontrol currently employs 68 apprentices, 46 of which are located in the Hunter Region. Additionally, nine trainees are employed in traineeships in Engineering, Drafting, Business, Supply Chain and Digital, all located in the Hunter Region.
During the visit, Minister Crakanthorp also heard of some of the challenges our apprentices face in developing their careers further.
Previously, Ampcontrol offered an Electrical Engineering Traineeship, however due to a small number of TAFE enrolments, the advanced diploma is no longer on offer.
“This has left many of our employees in a state of limbo as no one knows when this course will be made available again,” says Mikhaila Halford, Ampcontrol Capability Development Manager.
“It’s invaluable for the trainees to go through their trade and come into engineering at TAFE with as much face-to-face and hands on learning as possible because a kinaesthetic learner needs that opportunity”, she added.
Julian Daavid, Ampcontrol Electronics Technician, was on a pathway to complete his Electrical Engineering Traineeship through TAFE. Due to changes in the prerequisites and training packages this is no longer available to him. Fortunately, Julian was accepted into a Bachelor of Engineering at The University of Newcastle. He began his university education earlier this year.
“I started my degree this year, which has been very intense. Ampcontrol continues to allow me to do it while making a living,” Julian says.
Ampcontrol works very closely with TAFE to ensure our employees’ needs and requirements are met. Paul Reynolds, Ampcontrol General Manager- Technology, explained that training employees through TAFE has previously been easy and produced excellent tradespeople by providing a practical side to their training. But difficulties arose when TAFE began to introduce new prerequisites and change delivery of learning.
“This skillset gained through TAFE is critical to our business and our industry; we don’t want to lose that. But the new changes being made are adding years to our employee’s studies”, says Paul Reynolds.
Ampcontrol recognises the benefits of TAFE qualified employees with Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO, Rod Henderson, a TAFE qualified Engineer.
“To give you a prime example of TAFE’s importance, I’m a product of the TAFE system. The practical training I got from TAFE has been invaluable throughout my career”, says Rod Henderson.
“We can’t regrow a strong manufacturing sector here in the Hunter without it. To replicate what we had when BHP, Alcan, and all those companies up here, we can redo that in energy manufacturing. But we need a strong TAFE system to build it back up and support it,” Rod added.