New paths to the workplacedeveloper
Taking on a school based traineeship can seem like a daunting task on top of the workload of the senior years of school but for Daniel Soldatos it was an easy choice.
“I’ve always loved being outside, getting my hands dirty. It’s also great to see what I’ve done, to have a result in front of me. It’s so rewarding – doing a trade was just the obvious thing for me to do when those are the things I enjoy,” Daniel says.
Daniel chose his subjects to complement his traineeship with Larkin Electrical Contracting, taking on a VET course in Electrotechnology alongside Industrial Technology, Christian Studies, Advanced and Extension English, Mathematics, and Geography.
“Industrial Technology and Electrotechnology both play into my traineeship,” Daniel explains. “It’s the nature of the work, being onsite, and getting comfortable in that environment. And maths is so helpful – you have to know maths to work onsite, to fix problems, and to know what you’re doing.”
It would be easy to focus on the subjects he enjoys, but Daniel’s advice to any student considering their subjects and a traineeship in the future is to remember to intentionally challenge themselves – he does this by diving into Extension English. Another challenge comes in the balancing of work, school, sport, family, and his social life – something that many people don’t master until they’re well into their career post-school.
“There’s a joke that Tradies have early starts / early finishes, but it’s not always true. I rarely head home before 3:00pm and they’re long, physical days. During the week, I just focus on the work and I make sure I go to bed early, because you never want to be behind on your sleep in a job like this, you’ll definitely regret it. On Saturdays I make sure I have time for my friends and on Sundays I catch up with the rest of my life, whether it’s school work, sport, or getting ready for the week ahead.”
The practical and tangible skills Daniel has acquired are many, but there are softer skills being developed too, that Daniel knows will help him as he heads off into his career.
“I’m more confident as my skills grow, and this experience really enhances your communication skills, and other things like respect and manners. It sounds obvious but it’s not always something people think about,” he says. “I’m going into people’s houses every day, and you need to have respect – even simple things like taking off your shoes when you come in, and being friendly! It sounds like normal stuff, but it’s not always the case.”
For Daniel, his future is open-ended. With dreams of owning his own business after he gets a few years of practice as an electrician behind him, he also knows that he has plenty of options.
“This experience is going to help me with any job, no matter what path I take. I’ll still have my HSC behind me, I’ll still have an ATAR, I can take the university path if I decide I want to.”
One past student who knows what it’s like on the other side of school with a school based traineeship under his belt is Taylor Miller. A 2019 Alumni, Taylor took a VET course in Construction and participated in a school based traineeship with Advanced Detail Joinery. Now, as a first year apprentice with a new employer, he has been able to challenge himself further.
“I felt really confident being able to go to a new company. Going into that workshop, I had already used a lot of the machines that they had there,” Taylor explained at a recent SBT information evening. “There were a few different things I needed to learn, but I was able to go in, knowing what I’ve done in the past and bringing that knowledge in and building on it. And my new boss could build on it too – he was able to give me harder jobs than a first year would usually get.”
Taking part in a school based traineeship and heading into a real workplace gave Taylor invaluable skills, from finding the balance between practical work and theory, down to his confidence and accuracy.
“You’re not just building something for the sake of building it, you’re building it because someone’s putting their money into it, so you’ve got to make sure you’re focused on every cut. You can’t just grab a scrap piece and go again, more accuracy is needed. It meant that when I came back to school, I had that mentality. My practical work at school was of a higher standard.”
Both Taylor and Daniel are shining examples of the wonderful impact school based traineeships can have on students who are looking to continue studying while immersing themselves in a trade, learning practical skills alongside the theory, and getting themselves career-ready.
School based traineeships are not possible without the support of wonderful employers; many thanks to Trinity’s Careers and Student Pathways Advisor, Ms. Susan Draysey for her work developing relationships with companies who are enthusiastic about getting connected with our students to make the SBT program possible.