Students ready for working world

Published 12:00pm 9 February 2023

Students ready for working world
Words by Kylie Knight

The future looks bright for Australian Trade College North Brisbane student Kieran Stone as he kicks off Year 12 with a school-based apprenticeship and is well on his way to achieving his QCE and industry qualifications.

The 17-year-old, pictured above with Josh DeSerio from Hartec Electrical & Fire, is excited about the year ahead, completing four-week blocks of work experience as part of his school-based apprenticeship but also working towards a Certificate III in Electrotechnology, a Certificate III in Business and his QCE.

“I’ve always wanted to stay physical in a job, never really wanted to be sitting down at a desk. I also wanted to use maths – that’s my favourite subject. That’s why I chose electrotechnology because it gives you those two things,” Kieran says.

He started at the college last year and has already completed a Certificate II in Electrotechnology.

Australian Trade College North Brisbane (ATCNB) Principal Brett Kavanagh explains:

“Students coming into Year 11, they start in their pre-apprenticeship qualification to give them a broad understanding of the industry. For students like Kieran, it gives them an insight into residential, commercial, industrial … as well as a look into the renewal energy sector,” he says.

“One of our key points of difference, as a school, is our work experience program. Kieran undertook seven weeks of work experience last year as part of his school studies.”

He worked for three different employers throughout the year.

“I wanted to work for completely different companies. No one company’s the same. I will be working with one of them full time when I graduate, so I wanted to pick the right one,” Kieran says.

As a result, he has now secured a school-based apprenticeship with Hartec Electrical & Fire.

Students ready for working world
Josh DeSerio from Hartec Electrical & Fire with Australian Trade College North Brisbane student Kieran Stone.

Busy year ahead

“This year looks good. The school has implemented a regular rotation of four-week blocks for students who have their school-based apprenticeships. For four weeks, we’ll be out with our company learning everything they can teach us,” he explains.

Mr Kavanagh says all ATCNB students complete either General or Essential English and Maths and they all complete a Certificate III in Business alongside their trade qualification.

“A school-based apprenticeship, whether that electrotechnology, hairdressing, or cookery for the cheffing industry is equal to the number of QCE points you’d get doing Maths, English, Spanish or Health Studies at school,” he explains.

“A school-based apprenticeship is on-the-job learning ... four weeks of dedicated learning which gives him that massive head start with his employer. Once Kieran has graduated, he will be close to finishing his first year of his apprenticeship.

“It’s exciting. Here at the trade college, we do genuinely, hand-on-heart, prepare young people for the working world.

“This is our 16th year of operation as a mainstream high school. Year-on-year we have a minimum of 80 per cent of our Year 12 graduates in full-time employment within three months of graduating. That’s better than going to university for four years.

“In 2022, we had 100 per cent of our students receive a Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE), 100 per cent of our students get their Certificate III in Business qualification and by our graduation night 90 per cent have a school-based apprenticeship.

Students ready for working world
Australian Trade College North Brisbane Principal Brett Kavanagh.

Long-term success

Mr Kavanagh says he speaks to parents about the value of the Trade College family and how his team keeps an eye on students post-graduation, checking in to ensure they are still engaged with their employers.

“By mid-January, 94 per cent of students were in full-time employment (when we checked this year),” he says.

“The parents were so pleased their young adults were actually out in the workforce, knowing what they’re doing. They made the comment that so many of their peers and family friends who had students graduating at the same time were still sitting around on the couch waiting for uni to start or still looking for jobs.

“Retention rate of students staying in apprenticeships is much, much higher than the national average because they’ve had the opportunity through their work experience to experience what it’s like to be out in the working world.

“Sometimes they fall over and skin their knees (so to speak), but they’re in safe and supportive environment for school and they are able to go back and try again.

“They really understand what it is to work in the adult work environment. It’s one of those big differences where the trade college is genuinely light years ahead of other schools.”

Kieran is focused on what he wants to achieve this year.

“My goals are to graduate with my QCE and my Certificate III in business as well as securing, with my company, full-time work so that I can have a planned course for the future,” he says.

“I really like this company and so I’m excited to get out there and experience the world.”

Information evening and campus tour

Australian Trade College North Brisbane’s next information evening is on Tuesday, February 28 from 6-8.30pm.

The evening will showcase all trade programs including hairdressing; barbering; commercial cookery/hospitality; metal engineering/fabrication; electrotechnology; automotive; construction/shop fitting/cabinet making; plumbing; health services; early childhood education; and information technology.

Places are limited for the information evenings and usually book out. For more information and to register, head to the website


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