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In 2017, TAFE Queensland partnered with PwC and Gold Coast Health (GCH) to launch a Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) pilot to help Queensland employers attract and retain talented employees. Twelve months on the first cohort of students have graduated.

An initiative of PwC and supported by the Australian Government, the pilot program – a first of its kind in Australia - saw 46 GCH employees complete a customised Diploma of Leadership and Management designed and delivered by TAFE Queensland in the workplace.

The aim of the Higher Level Apprenticeship model is to provide people from all walks of life with the opportunity to go straight into employment and achieve a higher level qualification at the same time without having to make the choice to just focus on full-time study or work.

Gold Coast Health Executive Director People and Corporate Services Hannah Bloch said she was heartened by the enthusiasm and commitment of the nominated participants.

“Gold Coast Health is proud to host such a successful program based on student satisfaction and the high percentage of HLA apprentices graduating today,” said Ms Bloch.

GCH Acting Facility Manager, Julie Elliot said the qualification and work-based training program had helped her gain confidence and improve her leadership qualities.

“It was tailored to our specific workplace requirements and helped me approach challenges from a different perspective.

“The training was also a great networking opportunity, exposing us to other business units and we gained a greater appreciation for the business and each other’s roles.

“I am currently acting in a senior role and this program gave me the confidence to make that happen,” she said.

PwC Skills Lead Sara Caplan congratulated graduates - the first ever Higher Apprentice graduates in Australia.

"The Gold Coast University Hospital employees who participated in the Higher Apprenticeship initiative are trailblazers, and I'm thrilled to see how they've embraced this incredible opportunity to further their careers," Ms Caplan said.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the Higher Apprenticeship initiative rolled out by even more employers who understand the benefits that come from upskilling their workforce."

TAFE Queensland Gold Coast Region General Manager, Karen Dickinson said, “The Higher Level Apprenticeships program will not only provide greater flexibility and choice for school leavers looking to enter the workforce, but also enable existing workers the opportunity to progress their careers.”

“Employers will be able to attract and retain talented employees by offering a pathway for new entrants to develop higher level skills and knowledge as well as offering a program that can help existing staff break through to the top,” she said.

The Higher Level Apprenticeship pilot program is set to build the capabilities of workplaces throughout Australia, enabling employers to benefit from upskilling their employees and developing future leaders.

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TAFE Queensland