Apprentices Complete Training to Enter Growing Infrastructure Industry

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Apprentices Complete Training to Enter Growing Infrastructure Industry

Article featured in Roads Online on 14/12/2020.

Some of Sydney’s most job-ready apprentices have graduated from one of the country’s most rigorous pre-apprenticeship courses – and they’re after jobs.

On Friday December 11, 18 pre-apprentices graduated from a special bootcamp developed by training and apprentice hire group Productivity Force and its business partner, Productivity Bootcamp. They are the first graduates of the newest training facility, at Campbelltown, which opened in late October.

Kieran Duffy, Executive Director of Productivity Force said we are very excited about this milestone.

“This year we celebrate five years since we began training apprentices, and our current group of graduates is the first from the Campbelltown training facility, which is the third such training centre. Now we’re looking for host employers who want excellent apprentices to start before Christmas or in the new year.”

Since Productivity Force began in 2015, it has trained 800 apprentices – aged from 15 to 30 – the majority of whom have been employed across various trades.

The intensive eight-week Productivity Bootcamp is designed to replicate a building site environment. Participants work hands-on as a team – a vital skill on a building site – and they gain new, practical skills in a variety of trades including carpentry, cabinetry, plumbing, electrical, roof tiling, waterproofing, scaffolding, concreting, bricklaying, landscaping and formwork.

“We truly believe these are Sydney’s – if not Australia’s – most job-ready apprentices,” Duffy said.

“They are physically fit to work on a construction site, are instilled with work values needed to succeed in the industry, and they know what is expected of them once they gain their apprenticeship. Our mission is to train, equip and upskill young people through these thorough face-to-face, practical, challenging, fun and hands-on bootcamps.”

Steve Mitchell, Sydney Construction Manager with Stowe Australia, which currently has three Productivity Force apprentices and will soon be employing another four, called the training second to none.

“The vetting they do is excellent, as are the values and focus on productivity that Productivity Force instils in their pre-apprentices,” he said.

“What also stands out about the apprentices we’ve employed who’ve done the eight-week bootcamp, is that they’re committed to the four-year apprenticeship. They are committed to learning.

“The culture that Productivity Force creates is about being the hardest worker in the ‘room’ – and that’s evident. The Bootcamp really prepares them; it puts these young people ahead of the pack. We employed our first Productivity Force graduate three years ago and his enthusiasm has not wavered in that time.”

Twenty-year-old Phoebe Lawrie is set to join Stowe Australia once she completes the Bootcamp on December 11.

Lawrie, who lives in the inner west suburb of Darlington, had been studying economics and philosophy at university when she decided on a new career path:

“I really loved the content [at university] but I struggled with the learning style. There were lots of people in the lectures and I felt distanced, disconnected and I struggled to apply it,” she said.

After looking for an apprenticeship in the construction sector, her potential employer wanted Phoebe to make sure it was something she really wanted to do.

“I’d never been in the industry before or on a construction site,” she said. “They wanted me to do the pre-apprentice bootcamp first.

“It’s been really great. I’m lucky because I’m well suited to it. I’ve done some carpentry, using power tools saws and drills. I’ve done a lot of concreting including doing formwork to prepare for pouring the concrete. I’ve also done steel-fixing and landscaping,” she said.

“We’re reforming the creek on the property [where the Bootcamp takes place], so we’re learning about ecosystems and harmful plants.”

Andrew Tran, aged 17 from Fairfield, has just finished his HSC and is presently attending the Productivity Bootcamp in Campbelltown.

He has a strong work ethic, working before and after school at Woolworths and KFC, and in the school holidays to help his family with the bills.

He had an interest in learning a trade, so when his school careers adviser told him about Productivity Force, he was keen to get started.

He has enjoyed the opportunity to try out various trades and learn new skills such as carpentry, landscaping, steel fixing and form work. But his favourite trade has been concreting, which he said is “satisfying.”

At bootcamp he has gained a range of essential skills such as learning how to get organised, how to use power and hand tools, communication tips, achieving set benchmarks, measuring and job estimations.

Tran said one of the best things about the experience is the supportive environment.

“The staff and other bootcamp participants are all so friendly and welcoming. It’s like being a part of a family,” he said.

“I like helping people, so working in a team and being part of the process that makes things happen is really rewarding.”

The hardest part has been waking up early to be on site by 7am, but he is enjoying the challenges of daily learning and is looking forward to getting his hands dirty doing some plumbing in preparation for his upcoming plumbing apprenticeship.

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