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Reaching For Higher Ground


Courtesy of The Advertiser.

A Higher Apprenticeship Program is being launched in South Australia to create a skilled workforce ready to take advantage of the new digital economy.


Offered by the Australian Industry Group in partnership with the South Australian Government under the Skilling South Australia initiative, the program aims to create 100 engineering technical apprenticeships in the next four years.


With a view to transforming the traditional apprenticeship, Ai Group has partnered with the training sector and defence industry to forge a new vocational educational and training (VET) pathway into defence manufacturing. “(The) Higher Apprenticeships Program is an innovative combination of VET and higher education, where apprentices develop advanced technical skills through theoretical and on-the-job training before graduating with a Diploma in Applied Technologies,”


Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni says. “A focus on emerging technologies means that existing mechanical engineering trade units are complemented with the study of robotic systems, cloud-based data and computer aided design tools.”


Ai Group is now recruiting participants for the program. “We’re talking to companies right across the board – defence, automation, electronics and mainstream manufacturing,” Stephen Myatt, head of Ai Group in SA, says.


The SA program follows a similar successful pilot program run in Melbourne between Ai Group, Siemens and Swinburne University, with two groups of 20 participants. The first group achieved an Associate Degree outcome and most gained fulltime employment with Siemens. Three returned to full-time study. The second group finishes at the end of 2019.


“The pilot project in Melbourne picked up people right across the board – school leavers, existing apprentices who wanted to build on their knowledge, and existing employees in companies who were looking to get further qualifications in the area of digital transformation,” Myatt says.


“Apprenticeships have always been a solid pathway to a career but the world is changing and we need to make apprenticeships more contemporary.”

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