The Thales Lithgow Facility was recently recognised for its 20-year long partnership with the western region's largest Group Training Organisation, Skillset. In the past two decades both Thales and Skillset have produced over 60 of the region's most talented tradespersons - specialising in the mechanical, electrical and electroplating trades - to ensure manufacturing in Australia continues to be best in class and meets the demands of local and international customers.
Lithgow’s General Manager Operations Bruce Hutton was presented a 2021 Partnership Award plaque and certificate from Skillset’s Workforce Programs Manager Ben Ruddy at an event held at Thales Lithgow. The award recognises an organisation that Skillset has collaborated with over the last 12 months to form a meaningful partnership with, and one that best serves its stakeholders and the wider community.
Each year, Thales approaches Skillset with the number of apprentices it wants to sponsor and the trade areas required. Skillset then runs a comprehensive recruiting process that includes candidate profiling to determine who is the best fit for Thales. On average, the annual apprenticeship vacancies at Thales Lithgow attract up to 70-80 applicants and Skillset then narrows the talent pool to select the best contenders for the three positions available.
Even after the hire, Skillset continues to work with Thales throughout each successful candidate’s four-year apprenticeship to ensure training plans are managed and relevant government rebates are received by both our organisation and the individual. Both Bruce and Thales Australia’s Lithgow-based Business Development Manager David Forbes agree this approach works for all parties.
The Thales/Skillset partnership plays to each of our strengths. The burden and compliance of administration, recruitment, and government funding is left to those who do it best and the training is left to us who have been training apprentices since 1912.
David Forbes, Business Development Manager at Thales Australia.
Our Lithgow business currently has nine apprentices and they form an important part of the team’s culture. As David points out, apprenticeships are a big part of Lithgow’s history and many of today’s technical, engineering and middle management on site started out as apprentices. “We truly believe at Lithgow that we reap what we sow, and the time we invested in our apprentices will ensure that our sovereign capability into the future is secured,” says David.
Skillset has operated since 1982 and was established by Bathurst, Orange, Blayney, Parkes, Lithgow and Dubbo Councils and Chambers of Commerce, to help regional businesses by supplying them with apprentices. Through its partnership with Thales and other organisations it has changed the lives of thousands of young adults living in regional New South Wales by supporting them in establishing a successful career through apprenticeships, traineeships or first-time employment.