Industry partnerships are the key to success at the Sunshine Coast Technical Trade Training Centre, according to Manager Tracie Warry. A long-time champion for the Centre, Tracie has been part of the team since the project was first proposed. We asked her to share some insights about what it takes to be named Construction School of the Year.

“When the need for a Trade Training Centre was first identified back in 2008, we started conversations with school Principals, Sunshine Coast Council, the University, TAFE and CSQ”, says Tracie.

“Everyone was on-board and I brought a number of people together from our community to create an Industry Working Group to provide the focus required to turn the idea into a reality.”

“We identified our key focus as the Sunshine Coast’s construction industry and went directly to industry to ask what was needed in terms of the skills (and attitudes) they required from young people.”

“Our philosophy has always been about partnerships, and we have evolved thanks to support from the community, we’ve all worked together.”

“We secured funding from the Commonwealth Government and the Centre was opened in 2010 in partnership with the four schools; Beerwah State High School, Caloundra State High School, Meridan State College and Kawana Waters State College. The SCTTTC provides great opportunities for young people and we now deliver our program to students from 15 Sunshine Coast high schools.

“We were initially funded to focus on Construction, but in consultation with Industry we expanded to include electrotechnology, Civil Construction, Surveying, Civil Engineering and plumbing due to the demand.

“We have a thorough recruitment process to identify students who are enthusiastic and committed to a trade career. Our selection process includes a written application, school endorsement and an interview.

“We treat our students like young adults, and when they come to us they find themselves in an adult learning environment. We focus on employability skills and attitude, and employers often comment about how ‘workplace ready’ our students are.

 “We help our students transition from school to the workplace. We prepare them to go out into the real world, and over 90% of our students end up with jobs. We use high quality trainers from partner RTOs and the University, and encourage parents to get involved in the development of their young people.

“From the beginning our local Industry has really supported us, even during the GFC we had employers willing to take on students for work placements. We’ve always mandated that our students take part in Structured Workplace Learning because we know this is what leads to jobs.

“We have 350 work placements a year and we’ve helped hundreds of young people to secure jobs in the industry.”

“I’ve been fortunate to be in a position where I can develop partnerships across our community. I also have a fantastic team who make the SCTTTC a high energy, exciting place for young people to learn. I believe it’s our links with industry that make us so successful – most of our employers are small business owners in the Construction Industry and word of mouth is our greatest marketing tool.

At our official opening I said that we started with support from Industry, and we’re still here for industry. We have employers coming back to us for their second and third apprentices so we must be doing something right. I love what I do, and there’s nothing more rewarding than former students coming back to tell me they love their new careers.