February 24, 2021

Tradies of the future take their first steps

Teenagers are often unsure which career path they’ll pursue as adults. For the academically minded, VCE and university are logical stepping stones while they decide. That pathway doesn’t suit everybody however, and for students who are happier hitting a nail than hitting the books, there are options available that will not only help them finish year 12, but do so with a job-ready qualification.

Such was the case this week when 76 aspiring electricians, carpenters and plumbers—all in years’ 10, 11 or 12—attended their first day of trade school at the AGA Training Centre in Korumburra. The students are among 51,247* Victorian participants in the Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS) program.

What is VETiS?

VETiS is a nationwide program that aims to boost the number of students completing their year 12 VCE or VCAL by substituting one or two days each week with trade training and a paid work placement.

Jim McWilliam, AGA carpentry program coordinator, has taught at the training centre for 15 years. “Many of these kids are a bit disenchanted with mainstream schooling. Being on the tools motivates them because they are the kinds of learners who need to be doing stuff,” he said.

This is reflected in the experience of Lach Watson, a year 11 carpentry student attending his first year at the AGA Trade School in Korumburra.

“I just wanted to get out of school, couldn’t stand being there. This (VETiS course) really takes the weight off because I’m not at school five days a week doing stuff I don’t want to do.” — Lach Watson

The VETiS program enables year 10, 11 and 12 students to work towards a nationally-recognised Certificate II qualification and puts them on a pathway to an apprenticeship.

Additional programs

Year 10 students are also eligible for the Head Start program, now in its third year, which lets them complete their VCE or VCAL while also completing a Certificate III apprenticeship. Head Start students spend one or two days per week in paid employment in their first year, increasing to three or four days per week in their final year.

Mr McWilliam said the number of female students attending the AGA Training Centre is increasing each year, with females making up around 12 per cent of this year’s student intake.

*VCAA 2021, Senior Secondary Certificate Statistical Information 2020. Section 4: Vocational Education and Training Delivered to Secondary Students, www.vcaa.vic.edu.au


Want to learn more? Get on the path to career success and contact the friendly team at AGA today.

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