job ready apprentices

Australia’s Most Job-Ready Apprentices Trained in Campbelltown

Article featured in South West Voice on 2/12/2020.

The first Productivity Bootcamp in Campbelltown has been a sensational success and over the next two years will give hundreds of local young people the edge they need to get apprenticeships and jobs in the construction industry.

On Monday, a group of VIPs led by Geoff Lee, the NSW minister for skills and tertiary education, officially opened the site of Productivity Bootcamp in Maryfields Estate, located along Narellan Road, opposite Western Sydney University.

The first group of 18 young people are about to graduate from the eight week program, but what a lot of people don’t realise is that it took more than five years to have such an innovative program come to Campbelltown and the Macarthur region.

Local businessman and Campbelltown councillor Warren Morrison, played a pivotal role in bringing it here.

Mr Morrison said he loved the idea of a Productivity Bootcamp the moment he heard the man behind the concept, Paul Breen, pitch it to the NSW Business Chamber. The two are pictured above at Monday’s official launch.

“I was at a Business Chamber function at the time when Paul Breen, the founder of Bootcamp, was talking about it and straight away I thought this is something we have got to get for Campbelltown,’’ says Morrison.

“I wasn’t even a councillor then but I spoke to Paul Breen about Bootcamp coming here, before it had been established anywhere else.

“So it was set up at St Marys, then Penrith, and now it’s in Campbelltown, it’s in Macarthur, and it’s great,’’ Morrison told the South West Voice during Monday’s official launch.

Mr Lee speaking on Monday. Local MPs Peter Sidgreaves and Nat Smith are among the other VIPs who attended the function.

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.

The Campbelltown site is a little different from the other two in that it has the classrooms right next to the outdoor training site so the participants don’t have far to go between the two.

Mr Lee said the NSW Government has allocated close to $2 million to help 275 young people build skills and kick-start careers in the Macarthur region through the Productivity Bootcamp at Maryfields.

 He said the NSW Government was essentially prioritising young people trying to get into a trade through the Bootcamp program.

“Getting people across NSW reskilled and back into jobs is a key component of the NSW Government’s Covid-19 recovery plan,” Mr Lee said.

“The Productivity Bootcamp will support young people to get hands-on experience learning a trade and allow them to take advantage of future job opportunities.”

More than 80 per cent of graduates from the program move into employment and around 10 per cent re-engage in education.

Productivity Bootcamp director Rebecca Embleton said the company has been delivering strong results in Western Sydney since 2015.

“Our Bootcamp program provides a transformative 8-week intensive course that arms young people with the skills and attitude needed to be successful employees,” Ms Embleton said.

Next Friday, December 11, the Campbelltown group will be graduating as Australia’s 18 most job-ready apprentices.

Training and apprentice hire group Productivity Force, business partner of Productivity Bootcamp, will be seeking host employers for these motivated 18 young people.

There shouldn’t be a shortage of takers, considering the calibre of these young people, coupled with federal government incentives for Australian businesses to hire new apprentices as part of its recovery plan from the Covid recession.

One is Steve Mitchell from Stowe Australia, who will be employing a couple of the current Bootcamp participants.

Mr Mitchell says Bootcamp puts its graduates ahead of the pack.

“What also stands out about the apprentices we’ve employed who’ve done the 8-week Bootcamp, is that they’re committed to the four-year apprenticeship,’’ he said.

“They are committed to learning. The culture that Productivity Force creates is about being the hardest worker in the room.’’

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.

Kieran Duffy, the executive director of Productivity Force, says they are looking for host employers who want excellent apprentices to start before Christmas or in the New Year.

 “We truly believe these are Sydney’s, if not Australia’s, most job-ready apprentices,” Mr 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 boot camps.”

Cr Morrison, who worked very hard to have Productivity Bootcamp expanded to Campbelltown, is now keen to ensure it becomes a permanent part of the training landscape.

“It will be here for two years on this site at Maryfields,’’ he says.

“Hopefully after that we can find another site around the region, ideally close to the railway so it’s easy for the kids to get to.

“This is so good we want to have it here for ever.’’