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Nation’s first Digital Engineering Apprenticeship offers 2020 school leavers an exciting career lifeline

Skills Lab,

With COVID-19 casting a long shadow on the plans of the nation’s school leavers, industry leaders have teamed up with Skills Lab to launch Australia’s first Digital Engineering Apprenticeship as a firm pathway to an in-demand career.

The new apprenticeship will offer tech-savvy school leavers a three-year placement in some of Australia’s top tier organisations under a paid-to-learn model, creating a new wave of para-professional roles recently coined ‘new-collar jobs’.

The program delivers on growing demand from industry employers for a new way to manage digital workflow. Creation of a new class of digital specialists in the Australian engineering community is predicted to be a win-win response to the fourth industrial revolution skills gap, with the potential to launch the careers of hundreds of school leavers across the country over the next five years.

“With technology changing so rapidly, there is a clear and present need for a new group of professionals who bring specialist training on how the different technical CAD packages and data can all come together in a customer-centric way,” said Peter Barnard, Head of Engineering Design and Technical Services at SA Power Networks.


From right: Peter Barnard together with interested school leavers Javeria Ali from Playford International College and Henry Bazzacco from Blackwood High School, Minister for Innovation and Skills Hon Minister Pisoni MP and CAD Systems Manager, SA Power Networks Stephen Williams

The adoption of this next-generation career path within Australian industry holds untapped potential for employers and school leavers. 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.

“This new wave of digital specialists provide a vital boost to the capabilities of Australian industry. Graduates of the Digital Engineering Apprenticeship will have the combination of experience, skills and industry-recognised diploma to advance an exciting career”, said Laura Mabikafola, Skills Lab General Manager.

Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said the Digital Engineering Apprenticeships initiative is an Australian first, combining a Diploma of Applied Technologies with additional competencies in robotic systems, cloud-based data and computer aided design.


Hon. Minister Pisoni MP speaking at the launch 

“It is critical to South Australia’s economy that we have a workforce with the right skills to fill these future jobs, particularly as the economy recovers from the impact of COVID-19,” Minister Pisoni said.

“This initiative was developed through a Skilling South Australia project, in partnership with the engineering industry who are crying out for more digital specialists.”

A number of leading Australian businesses, including SA Power Networks, are gearing up to host their first round of Digital Engineering Apprentices early 2021.

The program was officially launched on Wednesday 28th October at the National Wine Centre.

Applications submitted via MEGT’s website