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The nation’s first Digital Engineering Apprentices have been set to work in top-tier firms across Adelaide as they carve out a digital career in new Industry 4.0 roles. Sixteen apprentices will be working as digital specialists for organisations looking to fill an emerging skills gap in digital literacy.

The apprentices have commenced a three-year placement under a paid-to-learn model, allowing them to get hands-on experience with industry-leading technology while earning a salary. The new apprenticeship is being delivered in a collaboration between Skills Lab, AI Group, TAFE SA and industry leaders to create a new wave of specialists recently coined ‘new collar jobs’.

Digital Engineering Apprentice Christina Webb at the welcome lunch hosted by Skills Lab.

Christina Webb, originally from Booleroo Centre has moved to Adelaide to take part in the program as a new pathway into a STEM career. She brings a love of Maths and Science to her new role with SAGE Automation and is looking forward to learning more about the innovations taking place in Australian industry.

“I’m really excited to study something that is aligned with Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, I really wanted to work in the automation industry and be across projects in different industries to set myself up for a future in engineering,” said Christina Webb, Digital Engineering Apprentice.

The Apprenticeship is designed to give students a blend of on-the-job learning and formal study. Apprentices gain a nationally accredited Diploma of Applied Technologies while adding immediate value to organisations through application of learning in tailored micro credentials to current projects. Combining these learnings with traditional engineering skills, the collaboration is predicted to transform operations while providing real-world learning to the apprentice and reducing the risk of skills shortages for business.

“It’s incredibly exciting to kick off the Digital Engineering Higher Apprenticeships to bring to life what started as a recognised industry skills gap. We’re pleased to see the emergence of a collaborative engineering community that provides a deeper authentic learning experience as the apprentices move through their studies.”, said Laura Mabikafola, Skills Lab General Manager.

The eight partner organisation hosting the apprentices have been impressed by the early work of the apprentices, with their speed and approach to new tasks surpassing expectations.

“The feedback we’ve had from all of the host employers has been really positive. A lot of the apprentices are meeting milestones that they didn’t think they would achieve four to six weeks in. Some of them are achieving things that engineers who have just entered the industry haven’t achieved yet,” said Paul McPherson, Employee and Training Consultant for AI Group.