July 19th, 2016

Thousands of senior high school students gathered at Avondale College of Higher Education on June 28th for the annual Central Coast Career Pathways Expo and the Skills and Thrills Careers Showcase, an event that helps students’ connect their passions to a career outcome, setting the agenda for National Skills Week in August.

Now in its 41st year, the Central Coast Expo has been celebrated for bringing together high school students with private training providers, registered training providers, TAFEs, colleges and Universities in an interactive space where students can best source career information and options on future study.

The 2016 event saw over 150 education providers connect with 4,000 years 10, 11 and 12 students from the Central Coast. To see highlights from this year’s expo visit SkillsOne: Central Coast Career Pathways Expo 2016.

Phil Williamson, organiser of the expo, believes careers expos assist in alleviating youth unemployment levels, and sets students up for successful futures.

“It is very important to have an expo like this for the kids,” Phil says. “There is a variety and multitude of pathways that are out there, and kids need to know what options are available to them.”

Working in conjunction with the Central Coast Expo, the Skills and Thrills showcase awakened students on the day to the variety of jobs they can pursue, the sectors experiencing skills shortages, and brought understanding to new demands on Australia’s workforce.

Earlier in July the Skills and Thrills showcases gained overwhelmingly positive reviews across the western and northern suburbs of Sydney for the way dance, theatre and music engaged audiences and changed their attitudes toward Vocational Education and Training. Audience comments included: “It was fantastic”, “I loved everything about this show”, and “it showed subjects, jobs, careers that are not shown at school.”

Accompanied by high-beat music from a live rock band, the exclusive Skills and Thrills showcase was presented at The Central Coast Expo and included special appearances from NRL player Alan Tongue, and Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador and 2014 Australian Apprentice of the Year Finalist Mark Hardy.

Mark was first introduced to Electrotechnology Electrics when his employer offered him an Australian Apprenticeship at TAFE NSW, North Coast Institute, after having already worked in the field for a number of years. His apprenticeship studies allowed him to further extend his skills and master his trade.

Reflecting on the careers expo at the Central Coast, Mark believes that people living in metro areas are not provided with as many options compared to people from city areas. He says, “For the central coast and regional areas it is very important to know what is out there.”

Now with a career as a qualified Electrotechnology Electrician, Mark has worked on refrigerators and air-conditioning systems for over 10 years. He values the way VET helped him keep pace with a forward thinking Industry.

“Perhaps traditionally people have thought about going down the pathway of uni for their professional careers, but there are plenty more options available in Vocational Education in trades, and traditional trades are changing every day as well, so what might have been the case years ago has changed a lot for people going forward,” Mark says.

Electrotechnology Electrics has been more than just a successful career path for Mark; it has also led him onto abundant career opportunities and provided him with entrepreneurial knowledge, two secret benefits of VET that are celebrated during the upcoming National Skills Week.

SkillsOne, drivers of the week long event that sheds light on skills and trades nationwide aim to enlighten people on the valuable attributes of VET to Australia’s workforce and economy.

“It is time to recognise the importance of developing and skilling young professionals, who go on to make a positive impact across industries nationwide,” says Kirstin Casey, General Manager at SkillsOne.

“VET, with its academic, practical and on-the job training provides a world-class environment for creating and nurturing Australia’s future workforce, especially during a time when a number of sectors are experiencing skills shortages.”

For further information on Mark Hardy’s story, visit Australian Training Awards Alumni and Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors.

To find out about the many events taking place during National Skills Week, or to register an event visit our website.

Subscribe for updates from National Skills Week!