TAFE helps Indigenous engineering students become “work-ready”
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 124 No 1, 15 February 2019, page no. 20
“Respect, teamwork, trust, safety and sustainability” are some of the core concepts that a class of 14 Indigenous Certificate II in Engineering Pathways students say they’ve deeply valued throughout their CQUni TAFE learning journey.
Over the year, these year 11 and 12 high school students spent one day a week at CQUni Mackay’s Trade Training Centre honing their metal fabrication, plumbing, electrical and diesel fitting skills.
Teacher and QTU member Paul Kelly described the class as “work-ready”.
“With the Cert II now under their belts, these students are ready, willing and more than able to accept apprenticeships and take on trades assistant roles,” he said.
2018 Pathways students Matthew Butler and Johnathon Majid were the first in their families to finish high school.
Matt is now keen to acquire a plumbing apprenticeship and Johnathon a diesel fitting or boiler making apprenticeship.
“If it wasn’t for the support of our mentor and teacher Paul – many of us wouldn’t be graduating from school or TAFE,” Matt said.
“Paul tells us we’re in charge of our own learning. Having the opportunity to learn in an adult environment has been empowering, and it’s brought us all together as a team.
“We respect each other, and we trust each other and – as Paul has taught us – these values are really important in the workshop when it comes to safety.”
Johnathon added: “We trust each other with our lives and we always have two spotters on each person making sure we are operating safely at all times. Huge machines and heavy tools like a 100-tonne shearing-force guillotine can be extremely dangerous; that’s why we listen in class, show respect at all times and are safety-focused,” he said.
Both Matt and Johnathon are often called upon to act as role models and speak to younger school groups touring through the Trade Training Centre.
Matt said: “Last year’s graduates set the standard for us – they were so highly regarded and respected by staff – so we’ve done our very best to live up to and honour that positive reputation. We hope our actions will set a good standard for future Indigenous students so that they may continue to inspire others as well.”
Anyone who would like to hire these students should contact the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships on (07) 4862 7001.