Apprentices benefit from collaboration

Gippsland locals Thomas Lee and Marques Guedelha are the first two beneficiaries of an exciting collaboration between leading Gippsland employers.

The pair, who are currently electrical instrumentation apprentices at Esso Australia’s Longford site, spent a month on the tools with Sale-based Marathon Electrical, as part of a workplace rotation arranged by leading group training organisation WPC Group.

The four week work placement is aimed at assisting the apprentices broaden their electrical knowledge and practical skills by increasing their exposure to residential, commercial and industrial electrical work.

Janine McPhee, WPC Group Apprentice and Trainee Manager, who arranged the rotation and works closely with both employers, said it was designed to help them learn how electrical theory and practices are carried out across different industry environments.

“Rotations give apprentices like Thomas and Marques the opportunity to expand their workplace experience, learn and apply new methods and test their skills,” said Janine.

“It’s fantastic when major local businesses can come together and give their staff the chance to learn and develop in this way.” 

Brett Singh, Managing Director of Marathon Electrical was only too happy to help.

“It’s all about helping to develop a well-rounded workforce for the region. At an industrial site like Longford, apprentices they don’t get as much exposure to the type work Marathon specialises in, so collaborating and cooperating with Esso gives us all the chance to learn and improve from each other.”

And Marathon Electrical is not the only business taking part in this initiative. Tony Wallace, Managing Director at Rotafab Asset Maintenance in Wurruk will also provide the opportunity for Esso’s ten mechanical fitter and turner apprentices to commence four week work rotations across all areas of the business. Tony see’s great value in assisting local youth to develop their knowledge of the industry outside the Esso plant, building their mechanical skills base across welding fabrication, pipe spooling, industrial coatings and rotating equipment repair. 
According to Janine, workplace rotations, which are a common feature of the WPC Group’s mentored apprenticeship training plans, are increasingly being sought by both employers and apprentices. 

Esso Longford Plant Manager, Kartik Garg is fully supportive of the Esso electrical and mechanical apprentices gaining valuable experience with a range of local businesses.

“Employers are recognising the value of ‘breadth of experience’, as being a well-rounded qualified tradesperson gives you more options, and the employer more flexibility," said Kartik.

WPC Group specialises in working with employers to develop well-rounded apprentices and ensuring apprentices and trainees are given a broad skills profile during their training period.  

And their approach is paying off.  The Mentored Apprenticeship and Traineeship Program it operates in partnership with Esso Australia has had a 100% retention and completion rate since its commencement in 2018, enabling 34 young Gippslanders to earn and learn a trade along the way.

Image Thomas and Marques are third year apprentices at Longford Gas Plants and have just completed a four-week rotation at Marathon Electrical.
Thomas and Marques are third year apprentices at Longford Gas Plants and have just completed a four-week rotation at Marathon Electrical.