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Katherine program delivers work-ready apprentices

The program is aimed at people in the Katherine region interested in an apprenticeship in automotive or engineering trades The program is aimed at people in the Katherine region interested in an apprenticeship in automotive or engineering trades

A new program based at Charles Darwin University’s Katherine Rural campus to boost the number of work-ready apprentices available to local employers has been launched by Minister for Employment and Training Dave Tollner.

The program is aimed at people in the region who are interested in an apprenticeship in automotive or engineering trades, and assists new entrants through the first year.

Minister Tollner said many small businesses wanted to take on apprentices, but often the cost of the first year’s training could outweigh the benefits for the employer.

“This program provides work-ready second year apprentices by providing a new approach to the first year training and work requirements,” Mr Tollner said.

“We have devised an approach that achieves the theory and practical elements of the first year outside the traditional single employer model.”

The program will involve 15 apprentices being employed by GTNT. Apprentices will attend CDU’s Katherine Rural campus in a live-in arrangement while undertaking the first stage of their apprenticeships in conjunction with a range of trade-related projects at CDU and work placements with local employers to support their on-the-job training requirements.

The program will run for about 21 weeks and the apprentices also will be supported by a trade-qualified mentor throughout the program. It is modelled on a successful pilot program run in Darwin in 2013 where 12 apprentice boilermakers completed the first stage of their apprenticeships.  

On completion of the program the apprentices can be hosted by interested employers in a Group Training arrangement or directly employed by employers interested in taking on a work-ready apprentice.

“This way we can offer local Katherine employers work-ready second year apprentices without those employers having a first year apprentice on their books when they are largely doing a theory component offsite,” Mr Tollner said.  

CDU’s Head of School of Trades Justin Busse said the program’s expansion to Katherine would further strengthen the role of the local campus.

“CDU is pleased the program will be conducted in Katherine and looks forward to working with local students and employers to ensure its success,” Mr Busse said.

Mr Tollner said the new program was an example of how the Northern Territory Government was collaborating with the business community to design and facilitate tailor-made VET training solutions for sectors, industries or groups of businesses.

For more information visit W: www.gtnt.com.au