Australia’s first digital engineering apprenticeship launched

Minister for Innovation and Skills Hon Minister Pisoni MP with interested school leavers Javeria Ali from Playford International College and Henry Bazzacco from Blackwood High School.

Industry leaders have teamed up with Skills Lab to launch Australia’s first digital engineering apprenticeship to provide a pathway to an in-demand career.

The new apprenticeship will offer 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. Creating 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.

A number of Australian businesses, including SA Power Networks, will host their first round of digital engineering apprentices early 2021.

“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.

Apprentices will 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.

Skills Lab general manager Laura Mabikafola said a new wave of digital specialists will be vital to increasing Australian industry capability.

“Graduates of the digital engineering apprenticeship will have the combination of experience, skills and industry-recognised diploma to advance an exciting career,” she said.

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.

“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,” he said.