School Based Apprenticeships Offer Best of All Worlds to Would-be Tradesmen

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For parents and students concerned about career choices having to be made too early in the teen years, the ASBA program is a winner.

The Australian Schools Based Apprenticeship (ASBA) allows a student to complete their High School Certificate (HSC) at year 12 while also having commenced a trade qualification.  Should there be a change of heart during in or after Year 12 and they want to pursue a non-trade direction, they have the HSC as a base from which to start.

Australian Schools Based Apprenticeship

McCarthy Catholic College Trade Centre at Emu Plains currently has 35 trade training students in Year 11 participating in a trade training day once a week, on their specific trade choice and for many, another day a week spent on the job with an employer.  One of these students is Brodie Schliebs who is a bricklaying apprentice currently finishing Year 11 who has the benefit of hands-on apprenticeship training on the job. He does this with Steven Parker of Quicksilver Bricklaying, plus RTO training at McCarthy Trade Training Centre with Nigel Croke, while also studying for his HSC which he completes next year.

By year end 2013 he will have the first year of his three year bricklaying apprenticeship completed, as well as have his HSC!  Brodie explained for ABBTF that taking on the schools based apprenticeship meant he changed schools from Xavier College to McCarthy where the Trade Centre is located, which in his case wasn’t too difficult to do as he has his ‘P’s’ and can drive the twenty minutes from home.

Brodie’s enjoying bricklaying very much, “I’m learning heaps both on site and at tech (training) from both Steven and Nigel.  I love the team work on the job and the new skills I’m building plus the overall atmosphere where people are friendly and helpful.”

Trainer Nigel Croke also involved Brodie in working on the Try a Trade exhibition at WorldSkills in Sydney recently, which he found very rewarding in terms of the appreciation and enjoyment people were getting from their taste of bricklaying.

Australian School Based Apprenticeships

Patrick Carroll, Acting Industry Liaison Officer and teacher at McCarthy says Brodie is thriving on the mix of activities.  “He is wrapped that he is acquiring real skills out in the field when working with Steven Parker his employer each Wednesday, plus acquiring the trade knowledge at our Training Centre, and continuing his HSC”, said Patrick.

Attracting more students for bricklaying is however a challenge McCarthy College is facing despite advertising for students.  “Bricklaying requires a love of the physical life and working with your hands, characteristics young people are apparently not as comfortable with as in the past” he says.  Patrick would also like to see Government agencies promote the ASBA with commercial builders and individual employers to help more students get started on trades while still at school.

Onsite, Brodie is benefiting from Steven Parker’s experience, firm direction and advice.  While Steven would prefer to have Brodie on board for blocks of time, such as a week, he understands the HSC school study program doesn’t allow more than the one day a week at present.  He describes Brodie as a polite, punctual and honest person, attributes Steven rates as very important in an apprentice.

Steven notes “He doesn’t mind being told exactly how to do a task, though in his eagerness, his preference can be to just get in and give it a go”. Quicksilver also employs Steven’s son, a second year apprentice and a labourer.