Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk joined Hastings Deering Managing Director Dean Mehmet for the induction of 48 new apprentices with Rockhampton's Natasha Stark given a chance to talk to the Premier about her new job.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk joined Hastings Deering Managing Director Dean Mehmet for the induction of 48 new apprentices with Rockhampton's Natasha Stark given a chance to talk to the Premier about her new job. Contributed

Hastings welcomes largest apprentice intake in 4 years

It's not often your first day of work includes the chance to get up close and personal with the company's big boss but when it also includes the State's Premier, it quickly becomes a day you will never forget.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk joined Hastings Deering Managing Director Dean Mehmet for the induction of 48 new apprentices with Rockhampton's Natasha Stark given a chance to talk to the Premier about her new job.

The 17-year-old is one of seven from Rockhampton who started their two weeks of induction training at Hastings Deering's Learning Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.

It may be Chinese Year of the Dog but it has quickly become the year of the Cat for 48 recruits as Hastings Deering has more than doubled its 2017 intake: 2018 the largest intake in four years.

The Rocky recruits reflect how important the mining sector is to the region with even the school leavers having been involved in work experience in the sector, while others have worked in some capacity in peripheral employment such as trades assistant.

They also show you don't have to apply straight from school for an apprenticeship with an even skew of mature age applicants and school leavers across the cohort, with an age range of 16 to 38 along with five females and five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Natasha will train as a diesel fitter and is following in the footsteps of her father, a boiler maker, in taking up a trade: attracted to a job offering hands-on experience.

"I saw on social media the company was advertising apprenticeships,” she said. "I really liked how Hastings Deering promotes its apprentices and shows how important they are to the company. When I heard how many applications they received, I was just over the moon to even get an interview, but to then go on and get a job: that is fantastic. I want to take my qualifications as far as a career will allow me.”

On meeting the Premier, Natasha said: "I was so nervous to be honest, because she is so important. Mum and Dad were so pleased I had that opportunity.”

The major employer, and apprenticeship trainer, Hastings Deering was astounded in 2017, when within 24 hours of opening 2018 on-line applications, more than 1000 people had applied: with Hastings Deering receiving 1800 by the time submissions closed.

Evidence that gender diversification has indeed made inroads to the industry, more than 200 females applied for apprenticeships for Auto Electricians, Boilermakers, Diesel Fitters, Fitter Machinists (AustChrome), Mechanical Fitters and Electrical Fitters.

The February intake of apprentices come from Queensland (Brisbane, Toowoomba, Mt Isa, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns) and from the NT: including 30 apprentices from Mackay and Rockhampton, five females, five indigenous with an even skew of both young and mature age applicants.

Hastings Deering Managing Director Dean Mehmet said the almost doubling of last year's recruit numbers reaffirmed the company's commitment training.

"This is a very exciting time to be an apprentice with Hastings Deering,” Mr Mehmet said. "In 2017 56, fourth year apprentices, were given full time jobs: their four years of hard work paying off with continued employment. That is on top of the 84 fourth-year apprentices who were offered on-going roles in 2016.”

Apprenticeships are for four years with the ability to complete earlier: all apprentices receive a nationally recognised qualification. The next intake will be in 2019 but Hastings Deering is now reviewing a second intake in 2018.

Hastings Deering is a registered training organisation with 'state of the art' learning centres in Brisbane and PNG. The company is Queensland's third largest trainer of apprentices outside two Government organisations.

Hastings Deering employs around 3000 people with 16% of our workforce female. More than 5% of the workforce is made up of apprentices: employed in diesel fitting, auto electrical and fabrication roles. Since 1989 Hastings Deering has trained almost 1600 apprentices and in 2018 remains one of the largest trainers of apprentice diesel fitters in Australia.



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