Metalwork, screen studies, early childhood: year 10s get a taste for TAFE options

More than 200 high schoolers have visited Murray Bridge's TAFE to learn about the courses - many new - available there.

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“Once you learn it, you can make literally anything out of metal.”

When he finishes at Mannum Community College, Sam Bailey wants to be a metal fabricator.

As a year 10 student, he is still a year or two away from having to make a final decision, though he and his classmates are already planning SACE pathways.

He admitted automotive repairs also looked “cool”, but metalwork was the dream and – at this stage – the idea of studying in Murray Bridge sounded appealing.

“The TAFE here is really good,” he said, gesturing around the newly refurbished campus on Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s a nice building, it’s set up really nicely.”

He and a dozen more high schoolers listened as lecturer Andrew Hein ran through the career options available to engineering apprentices and graduates of the certificate courses offered at the TAFE campus.

The shipbuilding and aerospace industries presented the most opportunities for fitters, technicians, machinists or drafters, he said; but there were local employers, too, who would need staff in a few years’ time.

In pre-COVID times they would have been able to try out a virtual-reality welder TAFE uses to train first-timers without risking safety or wasting gas; instead they had to settle for a demonstration from training centre coordinator Amanda Phillis, pictured.

In other parts of the campus – and at the Lower Murray Trade Training Centre, at the high school – more year 10s learned about cyber security, screen and media, early childhood education and other careers.

Meningie student Coen Pearson, pictured below, said he was most interested in microbusiness.

“I’m trying to get something started myself, a business,” he said.

“I like to skate, so photography and filming, that's something I’d be interested in.

“They’ve got a lot of opportunities here.”

Year 10s gain a taste of trades available locally

More than 200 students visited the TAFE campus for the trades taster day on Tuesday.

Depending what they wanted to study, regional manager Sarah Lance said, they might not need to wait long before coming back.

“Depending on the type of career students want to take up, they may even be able to start their training while still at school,” she said.

“There are school-based apprenticeships and traineeships which enable students in years 10, 11 and 12 to combine paid employment and work-related training.”

The TAFE campus had excellent learning spaces with state of the art equipment, she said, from its automotive and engineering workshops to its hair salon, computer suites, and aged care and early childhood training labs.

TAFE also had connections with local industry that came in handy when students sought work placements or jobs, she said; and its partnership with the Murray River Study Hub, located on campus, made an online university education accessible to students who did not want to leave the region.

Restrictions permitting, parents, employers and members of the public will be able to find out more at an open day being planned for the campus later this year.

In the meantime, course lists and other information is available online.

Photos of Sam Bailey and Joseph Ward; Amanda Phillis; and Coen Pearson: Peri Strathearn.