Certificate II Electro Technology is extremely popular with secondary students in the Gateway region which places additional pressure for students to find a suitable placement; there is a far higher demand for SWL than there are available opportunities. Additionally, SWL opportunities are challenging to source due to OH & S issues on sites, licencing requirements, mobility of the sector and a high employment demand for apprenticeships, which may limit employer investment in SWL.
Omni Trades is a multiple trades service and maintenance business specialising in carpentry, plumbing & electrical trade services based in the Manningham LGA. Omni services all of Melbourne and holds multiple contracts with local governments, assorted public departments and utilities service providers. Omni has a long-standing apprenticeship program and maintains a high standard for all apprentices; expecting quality attitude, presentation, professionalism and attention to detail. Traditionally Omni has not engaged in SWL however through Gateway LLEN they have been recruited as an employer of choice and offered multiple opportunities across a variety of applicable trades.
Oliver (Ollie), a Year 11 VCAL student at Marcellin College, enrolled in Cert 2 Electro Technology required an Electrical block placement of 1 week with an Employer and was “matched” via the public SWL portal to Omni. He arranged his block placement and impressed the CEO Paul Elliot with his work ethic, attitude and organisational skills.
After his placement, the student realised that his current VET study course was no longer a pathway he wished to pursue and that he had developed an interest in Plumbing. As a result, Ollie approached Omni to offer his services as a labourer during the term holiday break in the hope he could explore his newly found passion for plumbing. Ollie was employed and paid casual rates as a labourer for school holidays, monitored directly by the CEO, whom remained impressed.
At the conclusion of his casual labouring role the student approached the CEO to discuss the possibility of an F/T apprenticeship in 2017 however the employer expressed concerned that Ollie wanted to leave school early and advised a preference for apprentices that has completed Year 12 studies. Ollie was keen to leave school but then asked if an SBAT might be an option and Omni, who have not had students in SBATs before, contacted Gateway LLEN to discuss in more detail.
Gateway LLEN supported Omni and brokered a meeting with MEGT to discuss SBATS and the appropriate guidelines and regulatory requirements. As a result, the student has been offered an SBAT (Plumbing) which is scheduled to commence in February 2017. Ollie is now staying on at school to complete his Year 12 Senior VCAL in a vocational field that he is genuinely passionate about. In addition, the student will commence his apprenticeship early, earn a tangible income and is already linked to his Employer, for a managed transition from school to the workforce. This illustrates the preferred outcome of SWL and would not have been possible without the SWL provider’s intervention and support.