Year 12 student, Michael Taylor likes that he spends more time on-the-tools and outdoors than he does in a classroom.
The 17-year-old is part of SchoolTech, an alternative high school program that’s the brainchild of the TAFE Queensland Cairns campus, the Great Barrier Reef International Marine College, Woree State High School and Skill360 Australia.
Through the SchoolTech program, not only is Michael studying for his Queensland Certificate of Education, but he’s also completing a Certificate II in Engineering Pathways and a Certificate II in Maritime Operations, while undertaking a school-based apprenticeship.
“When I heard about SchoolTech I wanted to enrol straight away as I knew it would help me get a head-start working in the marine industry,” Michael said.
“I’ve always been on boats and on the water and I thought it would be great if I could get a job doing what I enjoy,” he said.
SchoolTech students can study a range of industry areas including, construction, plumbing, engineering, electrical, automotive and marine.
“I really like SchoolTech, it’s different to a normal high school setting as I study my Year 11 and 12 subjects two days a week, I spend one day training at the Great Barrier Reef International Marine College and then two days a week working at Dennis’ Mobile Marine,” Michael said.
“I like going out to the Great Barrier Reef International Marine College because I do training that’s related to obtaining a coxswains certificate, so I drive a boat, I learn about navigation and I also get to do firefighting training,” he said.
SchoolTech Head of Department, Carmel Iivonen said the program is the perfect option for teenagers who are interested in a trade-related career.
“SchoolTech begins in Year 11 and when students graduate at the end of Year 12, they obtain a Queensland Certificate of Education, two nationally-recognised certificate qualifications and important entry-level trade skills making our graduates appealing to employers,” Ms Iivonen said.
“After SchoolTech, our graduates have the abilities they need to help them secure either a full-time apprenticeship or full-time work,” she said.
Dennis’ Mobile Marine Owner, Chloe Goodyear said it’s great having Michael on board.
“Michael assists our mechanics with all sorts of jobs such as servicing and repairing outboard engines, computer diagnostics, wiring, maintaining the workshop and trailer repairs,” Ms Goodyear said.
“Taking on a school-based apprentice through the SchoolTech program has allowed our business to provide a young person like Michael with the chance to complete an apprenticeship and still graduate Year 12.
“It’s very rewarding to give a young person the opportunity to have a trade,” she said.