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Sparks fly for Corowa students

By Corowa Free Press

Sparks flew and skills grew when a group of Corowa High School students earned an engineering qualification as part of a unique partnership with the TAFE NSW Corowa Connected Learning Centre recently.

The TVET students, spanning years 10, 11 and 12, completed a 20-week TAFE NSW Certificate I in Engineering, with a number of participants securing apprenticeships following the work placement component of the course.

The partnership saw TAFE NSW Metal Fabrication Teacher Franc Prestia deliver 14 units in areas from oxy welding to sheet and plate assembly to students at Corowa High’s trade training centre, with Auto Cad training and written exams taking place at the Connected Learning Centre.

The 2018 Graduate Outcome Survey report found a remarkable 88.2 per cent of engineering graduates in Australia were employed within four months of graduating, highlighting the strong demand for skilled professionals in the field.

Mr Prestia said “There’s definitely a skills shortage in the metal fabrication trades and I’m not surprised some of these students walked straight into apprenticeships. 

“The students were a very engaged group and seemed to appreciate the hands-on learning and work placement, which afforded them real practical skills and experience.”

As part of the course, students each made their own anvil, Chevrolet truck scale model, metal dice and a rocket stove, and completed 70 hours of work placement.

Corowa High School principal Joanna Bellette said the TVET engineering course was offered biennially at the school.

“This is a great example of a successful partnership between a high school and TAFE NSW to prepare students for future career pathways,” Ms Bellette said. 

“Courses like this really strengthen the relationships between the school, TAFE NSW and the local business community, and help students build adult relationships and get ready for the workforce.

“The fact some have already gained employment and others apprenticeships following the course is very positive.”

Among the students participating in the course was a teen targeting a career in underwater welding and an aspiring female welder.