Who doesn’t love a Friday? Well Friday March 9 was particularly exciting at NECA Education & Careers as it was the day we officially launched our Bright Spark program for pre-apprentices.
The Bright Spark program is an additional week that everyone who completes their pre-apprenticeship at NECA Education & Careers participates in at no extra cost, and that sees them completing a start-to-finish installation project in a simulated worksite setting in our workshop.
The launch took place on the final day of the installation for the Bright Spark class, so the pre-apps were proud to be able to show guests what they had achieved. The visitors from MEGT, Apprenticeship Employment Network, Apprenticeship Support Australia, NHP, and Aitken College were impressed by the pre-apprentices and pleasantly surprised by their skill level and the quality of the work.
NECA Education & Careers CEO Phil Green spoke about how the Bright Spark arose from the need to increase the practical component of the pre-apprenticeship and outlined the process of the program.
To give the guests a pre-apprentice’s perspective, Jamie Robertson, NECA Education & Careers teacher, asked McKenzie Smart a few questions in front of the group.
“The quality of the work improves so much when you have a holistic understanding, not just on paper, but with your hands, and this is a trade, so it’s a very hands-on thing, and that’s how you reinforce the knowledge that you learn in the classroom,” McKenzie said.
Training Operations Manager Steve Marshall encouraged guests to talk to the pre-apprentices about their experience with the Bright Spark as they checked out the projects.
The Bright Spark Program was developed in conjunction with industry leading businesses that are host employers for NECA Education & Careers apprentices, who were asked what experience their ideal first year apprentice would already have. This way, the apprentices have more workplace skills such as putting in cable tray and catenary wire, and the employers benefit as a result.
The Bright Spark also allows pre-apps to trial a work week and spend full days on the tools before going on site. “What could be a challenge, they face that challenge and it brings out those who want it,” Jamie said.
As the goal is to prepare the pre-apps for the workplace, the Bright Spark program aims to be as close as possible to a real job and worksite. “The teamwork is very important, we ensure that everyone is working as a team, because just like on the worksite where everyone works as a team, we want to simulate that too,” Jamie said.
Jamie was active in the set up of the Bright Spark program and loves how it brings people out of their shell. “They go into day one of their actual job confident that they know what they’re doing.”
Guests at the launch could see this confidence from the pre-apps who had spent the last 4 days drawing plans, quoting materials, roughing-in, fitting-off and testing their installations, and they had a lot of questions for the students.
Jamie was thrilled with the positive feedback from everyone who attended the launch. “It was great to hear that, it just reiterates the fact that it’s a great program,” which is also what we’ve heard in the overwhelmingly positive responses from students who have completed the program, enjoying the opportunity to put what they have learned in the 11 weeks of the pre-apprenticeship into practice in the one project.
Think you could be a Bright Spark? Pre-Apprenticeships have intakes all year and you can apply at any time. Register now!