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TAFE at school leads to a career opportunity of a lifetime

TAFE Queensland automotive student Kade Dupere is on the fast track to success after securing a highly competitive and sought-after diesel fitting apprenticeship with well-known national equipment supplier, Hastings Deering.

Seventeen-year-old Kade applied for the role in mid-2020 while completing his Year 12 studies at Redeemer Lutheran College which included a Certificate II in Automotive Vocational Preparation (AUR20716) through the TAFE at School program.

The diesel fitter apprentice joined 38 others from across Queensland and the Northern Territory at the machinery giant’s Brisbane headquarters for two weeks of induction training.

Hastings Deering was swamped with 2,695 applications — 1000 in the first week alone — with only 40 chosen, so competition was strong.

“I decided to apply for a diesel fitting apprenticeship with Hastings Deering because they’re a company who values their employees,” Kade said.

“They also have a strong dedication to safety which is so important, especially in the mining and construction industry.”

“Although there is never a guarantee when it comes to employment, I feel diesel fitting is a trade that will always provide work in most parts of the world,” he said.

Hastings Deering’s class of 2021 is diverse with 17-year-old Kade one of the youngest recruits, and 46-year-old Rockhampton local Warren Kaerger proving you're never too old to learn new skills.

Hastings Deering chief operating officer Mark Scott said apprenticeships continued to be highly sought after with applications up 30 per cent on 2020, which was also a record year.

“The diesel fitter apprenticeship is clearly the applicant’s preferred trade across all our locations,” Mr Scott said.

“Our focus was again to target a diverse range of people for our apprenticeship program which has been showing significant success.”

“Mackay and Rockhampton apprentices again dominated the cohort. This is driven both by the calibre of the applicants as well as our pipeline of work in the regions, linked to the resources sector as well as supporting the construction industry.”

“Hastings Deering continues to take a long-term view when it comes to investing in the training and development of its people and working with world-class Caterpillar machinery. Our apprentices learn about the repair, servicing, and maintenance of a massive range of equipment, engines, and power systems,” he said.

Kade became interested in mechanics at an early age having spent much of his youth helping his grandfather out on the family farm. His automotive interests motivated him to study a Certificate II in Automotive Vocational Preparation (AUR20716) which Kade said helped him to gain an insight into what it’s like to work in the automotive trade.

“The certificate also provided me with a lot of knowledge about how engines and heavy machinery work. It really prepared me for what it's like to be an apprentice,” Kade said.

The TAFE at School program allowed Kade to spend one day per week at TAFE Queensland's Acacia Ridge campus while completing his Year 12 studies.

TAFE Queensland teacher Jason Carr said the Certificate II in Automotive Vocational Preparation (AUR20716) is designed to prepare students for careers in the light and heavy automotive industries.

“Many of our students go on to be offered apprenticeships and entry-level positions in the automotive industry. The certificate provides students with the basic knowledge and skills they need to become job-ready,” Mr Carr said.

“The feedback we receive from employers is that they prefer candidates who can prove they are serious about their trade careers,” he said.

Kade said he’s very happy to have secured an apprenticeship with Hastings Deering and hopes to remain within the company after his apprenticeship.


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