Issue 9 - 1 October 2012 enews home

Students get handy at annual try-a-trade

By Patrick Nelson

CDU lecturer Jeff Nobbs watches closely as Papunya School's Erica Marshall builds a cat-scratching pole at the Alice Springs campus Try-a-Trade event

About 200 Central Australian high school students participated in a range of hands-on activities during the Try-a-Trade event at Charles Darwin University's Alice Springs campus recently.

One of the activities involved making "cat scratching poles", some of which will be donated to the RSPCA.

CDU's Senior Vocational and Education Training Adviser Lyle Mellors said lecturers showed students how to make the multi-tiered cat-scratching pole and then handed the tools over to students.

"The activity gave students the opportunity to make something with their hands as part of a broader exercise to demonstrate the value of trades," he said.

"Some 46 cat-scratching poles were made over the two days."

Mr Mellors said it was important for high school students to understand the value and viability of choosing a vocational employment pathway.

"The Northern Territory and Australia continues to have a great need for tradesmen and tradeswomen, especially in the skill shortage areas of automotive, construction, hairdressing, the food trades and others," he said.

"Not only do trades offer a dynamic and flexible employment option rich with opportunity, but evidence also shows that graduate 'tradies' hold their own against tertiary graduates in their salaries."

Students also participated in activities in auto, welding, butchery, horticulture, child care, music/media and hairdressing.

Try-a-Trade is an initiative of World Skills Australia and is managed jointly in Alice Springs by CDU, the Northern Territory Government and GTNT.