Why Mackay dominated company's apprentice intake
MACKAY once again dominated Hastings Deering's apprenticeship intake with an extra two recruitments in the 2020 cohort of 75 apprentices compared with 2019.
At age 39, Jeffrey Wharrier is the oldest in the sugar city's intake of 34 apprentices.
He is pictured with Josie Ellis Mellor, 17, one of three of the company's youngest apprentices in the cohort: rolling up their sleeves for their first day of work at Hastings Deering's Brisbane headquarters.
Mackay had the biggest intake followed by Rockhampton with 15.
Across Queensland and Papua New Guinea, 75 apprentices were chosen from a record number of 2177 of applicants when 2020 registrations closed in August 2019.
For Mr Wharrier, the mechanical fitter apprenticeship is an opportunity to formalise qualifications in work he has often undertaken as a fabricator trades' assistant.
"I am just loving it," he said. "I'm loving the challenge and can't wait to really get going.
"I've been in the industry for 12 years, sometimes working as a fitter, and so I thought it would be great to get that piece of paper to say I am a fitter.
"My family has worked in the coal industry for a number of generations so you could say it is in my blood.
"With record numbers of applicants, I think my experience combined with my work ethic stood me in good stead."
Mr Wharrier is joined by three other apprentices in their 30s, along with four female apprentices and three with indigenous backgrounds.
Hastings Deering is a registered training organisation with learning centres in Brisbane and PNG.
The company is Queensland's third largest trainer of apprentices outside two government organisations.
The company was swamped by a record 2177 applications when it closed off the 2020 registrations in August last year, with more than 1000 applications in the first week alone.
The 2020 total was an increase of almost 3 per cent on the 2019 apprentice intake application figures.
Diesel fitting was the most popular apprenticeship followed by auto electricians.
It was a sea of orange when Hastings Deering chief operating officer Mark Scott this week welcomed the cohort at induction where they got to rub shoulders with senior management.
"We are fully committed to their training," Mr Scott said.
"Across Australia there's a shortage of apprentices and we continue to ensure we are contributing to the talent pipeline with 158 trainees currently working in our operation.
"Add that to the 1500 we have trained over the past 15 years and you can see why we are proud of our training record.
"The high number of Mackay and Rockhampton apprentices is driven by having good applicants as well as the pipeline of work in the regions, particularly central Queensland linked to the resource sector as well as supporting the construction side of the business. Undertaking Cat training is virtually a passport to working anywhere in the world where there is Cat machinery.
"The high number of applications is also a reflection of our commitment to promoting STEM by actively partnering with the Queensland Resources Council and their Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy program which reaches 75 affiliated schools from as far north as Mount Isa and Townsville, to Central Queensland and the Coalfields as well as Brisbane in the South East."