High school students try their hands at a trade with TAFE

Cobar High School Year 11 students who are currently undertaking a TVET Automotive course Jacob Clark, Tommy Rogers, Khan McMurray and Emily Carlaw with their TAFE teacher Jamie Andrews at the TAFE on Thursday morning.

There’s plenty of success stories coming out of the TAFE NSW Vocational Preparation Automotive course currently being run at the Cobar TAFE campus.

Four Cobar High School (CHS) students who commenced their Certificate II in Vocational Preparation (Automotive) course last year have since gained mechanical apprenticeships.

Automotive TAFE teacher Jamie Andrews said he’s proud to have seen a large number of students, not only in Cobar, but in other towns where he teaches the course, go on to secure mechanical apprenticeships.

“I really enjoy my job and this lot are a great bunch of kids,” Mr Andrews said of the CHS Year 11 and Year 12 TVET students.

This year 15 CHS Year 11 students have commenced the Vocational Preparation Automotive course while seven Year 12 students are continuing on from last year. (There were originally 11 students in this class before the other four gained apprenticeships.)

Mr Andrews, a qualified Heavy Diesel Mechanic, has been teaching Automotive courses at TAFE for the past nine years.

He’s been travelling to Cobar from Dubbo for the past two years to teach the Vocational Preparation Automotive course one day a week to CHS students.

CHS’ Careers Adviser and VET Coordinator Megan Nicholson said while the course has been available to students at the school for the past nine years, it has only been taught at the Cobar TAFE campus for the past two years.

“A few years ago the students had to go to Bourke one day a week and now it’s being taught here in Cobar to over 20 students.

“It’s such a wonderful turnaround,” Mrs Nicholson said.

The course is an Industry Curriculum Framework course and four units count towards the student’s HSC.

Upon completion, students will receive a TAFE NSW Certificate II in Vocational Preparation (Automotive) and will be able to gain credit towards the Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology or a Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology.

Mr Andrews said the course aims to give school students an insight into the automotive trade.

“Students can see whether a career in automotive is for them and also learn hands-on skills to service their own cars,” he said.

“TAFE NSW is Australia’s largest education and training provider skilling the workforce of the future with in-demand skills in new and innovative ways.”

Mr Andrews said with the motor mechanic occupation forecast to employ an additional 623 people in NSW in the next three years, now is the time to think about a career in the automotive trade.