The final school years of Years 10,11,12 are integral years in preparing your teenager for entering the workforce after school. The opportunity to select subjects that cater to your teenage child’s passions, interests, strengths and abilities can bring a sense of excitement and relief as a greater world of practical employment skill learning joins the usual Australian contextualised curriculum. For parents navigating their way through this with a teenager, this process can feel challenging, and it pays to build your understanding of what opportunities are available as a Parent as early as you can.

Year 10 gives the opportunity to explore the world of work with industry and employer immersion, allowing personal learning plans, VET Tasters and Work Experience. “This is such an exciting time for students and parents, especially for those students who prefer a hands-on, practical learning approach. If your child is considering a career in Metal Fabrication, it is highly beneficial to complete a metal tech subject in Year 10 and this will set your child up for confidence in selecting their VET subject pathway to Engineering Certificate studies in Year 11 & 12.

At Bowhill Engineering, HR Manager Samantha Krollig often receives calls from parents who have a teenager interested in engineering.  “I encourage Parents & Students to book in a time with their VET Coordinator or Senior School leader and express their interest in trade taster days, and VET Certificate studies in Year 11 & 12.  Year 10 is a great time to explore work experience opportunities, these are the school contacts who can assist with getting opportunities in place.”

“Year 10 work experience is a great opportunity to try a trade before you select your VET study, get a taste of the career path you are interested in and show interest to employers for upcoming apprenticeship/traineeship opportunities.”

Last year, Bowhill Engineering held approximately 8 separate work experience opportunities.  Due to the success of the work experience program, all four Metal Fabrication Apprenticeships were filed prior to our annual apprenticeship intake opening in September.  Bowhill Engineering were thrilled with the enthusiasm and interest the students displayed whilst on work experience, with most applying immediately after work experience, to be considered for an apprenticeship opportunity.

Excitingly, Years 11 & 12 now offer Flexible Industry Pathways (FIPs) to employment in key growth industries in SA. These FIPs are focussed on students entering the workforce whilst completing and achieving their SACE requirements as an alternative to general education.

What are FIPs? They are opportunities for students to commence a part time or full time apprenticeship/traineeship that can contribute to the student achieving their SACE. What’s the advantages of a FIP? A large proportion of a student’s SACE credits can come from a student starting an apprenticeship/traineeship whilst at school. It’s basically, a refresh of the school-based apprenticeship vs full time apprenticeship allowing a lot more flexibility to the student and employer, it’s a personalised apprenticeship/traineeship program which offers a fantastic opportunity for students to transition into the workforce.

Bowhill Engineering prides itself in working with schools to raise awareness of engineering and metal fabrication, participating in trade school events, speaking to students, and hosting school group tours. If your child doesn’t have the opportunity to attend any of these, Bowhill Engineering have an open-door policy, where parents can book to attend with their child and see the working environment firsthand to learn more about metal fabrication careers.

The Murraylands has excellent school trade facilities in both the private and public-school sector, recent talks within our Manufacturing Industry Group indicate that there are more apprenticeships available than there are students completing engineering certificate studies – there has never been a better time to enter the engineering trade, with metal fabricators in high demand and many employers taking on apprentices.

A common misconception by Parents and students is that you need to change school to participate in VET studies, both the Murraylands private and public school cater to the local region with their VET study opportunities, again it is recommended you talk to your schools VET Coordinator or Student Pathways leader to ensure that your application for Certificate Engineering studies is in place as part of subject selection normally around September prior to Year 10.  It may simply mean that your child attends one day per week for trade school separate to their normal school.

Another query often posed by parents, is whether Certificate I or II Engineering completion is required to gain an apprenticeship.  Whilst most employers hold in high regard any VET training to demonstrate a student’s practical skills, there is a lot said for a genuine interest in the trade and a student being keen to work, this is often what impresses Bowhill Engineering the most in application and work ethic and we highly recommend student completing work experience to demonstrate this.

For further information on work experience, visits to Bowhill Engineering, contact HR Manager, Samantha Krollig on 8570 4208.

“For me it was seeing the heavy structural steel work that Bowhill Engineering do.  Whilst on work experience the Bowhill Engineering metal fabrication team were working on the Ovingham project which comprised of large steel bridge girders.  It was amazing to see the pieces being built and form together into huge bridge spans ready for install on site”

Work Experience Student

Article By

Sam Krollig
HR Manager