Last month our Above Water Systems team at Garden Island hosted students from the Clontarf Foundation to see for themselves potential pathways into traineeships, apprenticeships, internships and other career prospects. The day was a huge success and jam-packed with workshop tours followed by a highly anticipated boat ride in a 40-foot Steber with an early lunch on Sydney Harbour.
This site visit followed three visits made by Thales staff in recent weeks to learn more about the important work the Clontarf Foundation does to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.
The students arrived early at GI and there was a buzz of excitement in the air as the day started with morning tea and a briefing in the Digital Dock Room. Dock Operations and Reticulated Services (DORSC) Program Manager, Anthony Burrows introduced the boys to the DORSC and HR team and went through the day’s program, followed by a safety briefing by Trades and Production Capability Manager, Stuart Stafford.
After donning their PPE gear, the students were divided into small groups and set off for workshop demonstrations of the different trades including Boilermakers, Fitters, Plumbers, Sheet Metal Workers and Electricians. Questions were encouraged and the boys were keen to know what a day in the life of a tradesperson looked like; pathways and apprenticeships available at Thales; support systems in place for apprentices; starting and finishing salaries of apprentices; what happens when an apprenticeship ends; opportunities for further training; career prospects and of course lots of questions about the ships.
Pursuing a trade after school was a hot topic of conversation amongst the boys who thought the day was a great opportunity to look first hand at the options available to them. Some of the feedback included:
I have an interest in plumbing but enjoyed seeing all the cool trades today. It has given me an idea of what else is available and what I may want to do later on. Charlie
I’ve never seen anything like this before! Denzel
What a great day! Wow, so many job opportunities around. Harrison
I am interested in engineering and after today I would like to pursue this interest. Jarraki
I am interested in welding. Today has given me some hard thinking to do. Kye
I loved looking at all the trades today. I am in year 11 and want to do a trade. Now I have a better idea of the different trades I can get into and what’s involved. Maleek
Clontarf Foundation Facilitator, Heath Northey said the site visit shows the students what their future career can look like. “Our mission is to ensure young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men finish school, further their schooling or find employment prospects after school. The boys here today are in years 10 to 12 from Matraville High School. For the year 10 boys, today plants the seeds around employment and the opportunities available with our partners such as Thales when they finish school. For the year 12 boys, today is about the next step in their future and starting a serious conversation about pursuing an apprenticeship.”
Anthony Burrows says apprenticeships are a win-win for both apprentice and employer. “The apprentice gains valuable on-the-job training while building credentials and skills and learning a trade. For Thales, we are able to develop and build a stronger talent pipeline for the Defence Industry to support the Department of Defence’s Plan Galileo. Apprentices bridge the skills gap. We also have better retention rates, because young people come in with a support network around them and feel that they belong, so they are more engaged and more productive. I hope to work with some of these inspiring young men in the near future.”
Thales Australia is proud of its partnership with the Clontarf Foundation to create meaningful change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and promote respectful unity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.