With COVID-19 casting a long shadow on the plans of the nation’s school leavers, industry leaders have teamed up with Skills Lab to launch Australia’s first Digital Engineering Apprenticeship as a firm pathway to an in-demand career.
The new apprenticeship will offer tech-savvy school leavers a three-year placement in some of Australia’s top tier organisations under a paid-to-learn model, creating a new wave of para-professional roles recently coined ‘new-collar jobs’.
According to Peter Barnard, Head of Engineering Design and Technical Services at SA Power Networks, the program is particularly well suited to those that prefer to get real-world experience before, or instead of, the university path.
“The program will provide participants with on the job learning and an alternative pathway into engineering teams”, he said.
“The Digital Engineering Apprenticeship participants are being placed into Tier 1 engineering firms and will be exposed to the newest thinking and technology.”
The program delivers on growing demand from industry employers for a new way to manage digital workflow. Creation of a new class of digital specialists in the Australian engineering community is predicted to be a win-win response to the fourth industrial revolution skills gap, with the potential to launch the careers of hundreds of school leavers across the country over the next five years.
This prediction aligns with conversations senior members of the South Australian engineering community have been having throughout the year, with changing skills requirements a common issue across the industry.
“With technology changing so rapidly, there is a clear and present need for a new group of professionals who bring specialist training on how the different technical CAD packages and data can all come together in a customer-centric way,” said Mr Barnard.
Under the program apprentices gain a nationally accredited Diploma of Applied Technologies while adding immediate value to organisations through application of learning in tailored micro credentials to current projects.
The program works to strengthen South Australia’s engineering talent pipeline in several ways, says Mr Barnard.
“Today’s universities are producing impressive graduates, but the rapidly advancing technology is opening up a skills gap in the engineering teams.
“Digital Engineering Apprentices will be the experts in the technology that brings the engineers designs to life.
“Additionally, these apprenticeships are providing options for those who face barriers following the degree pathway.
“The diversity in the applicants and the openness for the host companies to support this diversity will open up a new talent pool for South Australia.”
A number of leading Australian businesses, including SA Power Networks, are gearing up to host their first round of Digital Engineering Apprentices early 2021.
The program was officially launched on Wednesday 28th October at the National Wine Centre.
To register interest as a host company or higher apprenticeship follow the links via the Skills Lab website.