BUILDING SKILLS: Seven school-based civil construction engineering trainees are getting hands-on work experience on the Nambucca Heads to Urunga Pacific Hwy upgrade.
BUILDING SKILLS: Seven school-based civil construction engineering trainees are getting hands-on work experience on the Nambucca Heads to Urunga Pacific Hwy upgrade. Rob Wright

Trainees on road to top job

THE Nambucca Heads to Urunga Pacific Hwy upgrade may one day be credited as the inspiration that drove these aspiring road builders into careers as engineers.

Australian international construction and infrastructure company Lend Lease has taken on seven local Year 11 school-based trainees in civil construction engineering for the highway project.

It's a groundbreaking opportunity for the students to get a foot in the door with a major international company.

The initiative has been organised by local organisation Directions Plus, a new group training company that developed from local not-for-profit organisation Youth Directions.

"Through our work with schools and young people, Youth Directions identified an opportunity to increase the number of school-based traineeships and apprenticeships available locally," Directions Plus traineeship consultant Carolyn Smidt said.

"So Directions Plus was established to specialise in promoting and supporting school-based traineeships and apprenticeships.

"No other local group training organisation specialises in this field.

"This is the first time Lend Lease has taken on school-based trainees where they achieve a certification and also get paid for their work.

"They are really leading the way in showing other businesses what can be done to support our young people, while building their own employment pool at the same time."

Lend Lease safety manager on the Nambucca Heads to Urunga upgrade, Dan Guthrie, said the company was proud to work with local youth to provide a hands-on learning experience within the industry.

"The workplace is a lot different to the classroom and school-based traineeships provide students with a head start for their careers," Mr Guthrie said.

School-based traineeships provide students who are completing Year 12 studies the opportunity to work one day a week plus gain nationally accredited qualification Certificate II or III.

In conjunction with the engineering trainees' on-the-job experience, the students also attend TAFE each month.



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