Federation TAFE and local business power up next generation of apprentices

Noah, Iaian, Beau
Laser Electrical school-based apprentices, Noah (left) and Beau (right) with Federation TAFE electrotechnology teacher Iaian Fricker (centre).

Federation TAFE is partnering with Wimmera employers to grow the region’s future workforce of electrical apprentices.

Two courses in electrotechnology are offered at Federation’s Wimmera Campus – Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Career Start) and Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician, the campus’ most popular course.

Federation TAFE Teacher, Iaian Fricker began delivering electrotechnology courses more than ten years ago and has been working closely with local businesses like Laser Electrical Horsham since the start.

“Electrotechnology is a very strong program and it's well supported by the local electricians. In 2011 we started with 10 apprentices and in 2023, we’ve got upwards of 50,” said Iaian. “And Laser has been with me since the beginning.”

Matt Coutts from Laser Electrical Horsham says, “We have a really good working relationship with Federation. Iaian is so proactive and such a great asset to TAFE.” 

“He gives us the opportunity to find the cream of the crop, students who are a good fit with Laser’s culture and align with what we're trying to achieve.”

Over the years Laser Electrical Horsham has taken on upwards of forty Federation apprentices with three school-based apprentices signed on to start in 2024.

A school-based apprenticeship or traineeship (SBAT) allows young people 15 and up who are enrolled in the VCE Vocational Major or Victorian Pathways Certificate to combine going to school with part-time work and trade school.

School-based apprentices make a start on a career before they finish school with hands-on training that leads to a nationally recognised qualification and credit towards their studies, as well as getting paid for time spent working and learning.

On Iaian’s recommendation and through the SBATs, Vocational Education Delivered to Secondary Schools (VETDSS), and structured workplace learning programs, Laser Electrical Horsham is finding potential staff early, helping create a sustainable workforce for their business and the region by embracing the Wimmera’s young people.

“The three fellas we're putting on will be employees of Laser Electrical. And for the other three days, they're at school. The school-based apprenticeship is a commitment from us to them. They're still young and they have shown interest in continuing their education through to year 12, which we absolutely embrace. 

“They have secured the apprenticeship that they want, but still pursue their secondary education, which is fantastic for both parties involved. It progresses them with their trade skills which is an advantage to us as they're more knowledgeable.”

Matt encourages young people to consider both electrotechnology as a career path or a trade in general.

“Anyone wondering which career path to take shouldn't underestimate a career in the trades. They can be very successful, very rewarding, and create great opportunities.” 

“And the electrotechnology skillset qualifies you for numerous industries and opens many doors. You can work as a domestic or industrial electrician, be a high voltage tradesperson, work on wind towers and solar farms, or do large-scale commercial grade work. There are many different types of jobs and facets of the trade”.

Electricians are well paid and in high demand, so now is a good time to consider enrolling and taking up the trade. The Certificate II Electrotechnology (Career Start) is a Free TAFE course.

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