School-based apprentices are the answer

The tightening labour market, the tightest in more than 50 years, has left many local businesses struggling to recruit local talent, with many employers asking for increased investment in skills training and targeted immigration.

Apprentice Zach Martin with O’Brien Plumbing Wyong Director, Brad Pesavento

30 September 2022



THE director of O’Brien Plumbing Wyong, Brad Pesavento, knows all too well the challenges faced by local businesses in filling positions.


“It has been very hard – you cannot find anyone really. We have put ads out and hardly get a response, and if we do it is often from someone without the right skills or who does not having working rights," he said.


Recently, Mr. Pesavento gained a new employee, Zach Martin, through the school-based apprenticeship and traineeship program (SBAT).


“Zach is really good; he is a hard worker and gets along with everyone. It is definitely something I am going to look more into in finding new people through these school-based apprenticeships,” said Mr. Pesavento.


“Currently we are looking for at least a couple more full-time positions to be filled into the next year.”


Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch recognises the ongoing issues faced by local businesses and praises forward thinking initiatives such as SBAT and the Educational Pathways Program in upskilling young workers with vital skills for the Central Coast.


“Initiatives such as the SBAT program are a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to engage with young people at the beginning of their careers, building the workforce of our future,” said Ms. Tesch.


Ms. Tesch encourages local businesses to engage with students as a means to train new talent. The SBAT program combines the skills of education, employment, and vocational training in order to grow the skills of our youth for current and future success.


“For years we have struggled with an underperforming labour market and relied too much on importing talent rather than developing talent locally. We need both, and the current labour shortage has highlighted real challenges that remain in upskilling and for businesses to find new ways to adapt to a modern workforce,” she said.


Students interested in this program should contact their school careers advisor to learn more.


Employers are invited to visit ‘Career and Study Pathways’ or email SBAT Engagement Officer, Ms Cecile Oakes to learn more about SBAT opportunities through the Educational Pathways Program.

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