In 2014, the Australia Government approved a grant of $1.5 million for Queensland’s Grace Lutheran College to construct a Trades Skills Centre at its Rothwell campus. The aim was to upskill secondary students in labour and skills shortage areas to generate more employment opportunities and help boost the Australian economy. Training qualifications in Construction, Engineering and Furniture Making began in 2015. Over the last five years, students have completed 173 trade qualifications in the Trade Skills Centre.
Through Industry consultation and support, Grace has developed facilities to emulate engineering and construction workshops, giving students an authentic working environment to gain skills using hand and power tools. Students also have the opportunity to complete numerous work placements in industry which may then lead to employment prospects.
Throughout the last five years of the program, 45 students have gained school-based or full time apprenticeships in carpentry, cabinet-making, shop-fitting, electrical, plumbing, mechanics and metal fabrication. Past graduating students have also used the knowledge and skills gained in the Trades Skills Centre to go on to tertiary studies in engineering and architecture.
“The programs that we offer in the Trades Skills Centre are providing students with the knowledge and hands-on skills that will prepare them for a career pathway in the building or manufacturing industries. This year we have commenced more intricate training in engineering, as 14 students are participating in a pilot program in the manufacture of robots and drones for commercial use,” said Leisa Jones, Head of Vocational Education & Training (VET) at Grace Lutheran College.
“In recent times, four of the graduates of the Grace Trade Skills Centre were signed into traineeships with Thiess to work on the construction of the Moreton Bay Rail Link. One of these students went on to be nominated for Trainee of the Year and has since commenced tertiary study in Town Planning. We’re extremely proud of the success of the program and are really excited to see what new pathways we can create for our current and future students.”