From left, Alstonville High student Tyson Dalziel, mentor Toni Bellos and manager of Alstonville Auto care Ricky Flounders.
From left, Alstonville High student Tyson Dalziel, mentor Toni Bellos and manager of Alstonville Auto care Ricky Flounders.

Driving kids into dream careers with ’light’ apprenticeships

ALSTONVILLE High student Tyson Dalziel, 16, has always loved cars, and his dream was to start a mechanic apprenticeship.

The Year 10 student said he was very excited about starting a school-based apprenticeship next week.

"I love working on cars, I have always helped Dad fix them since I was very young. This is my passion and what I want to do," he said.

Manager of Alstonville Auto Care, Ricky Flounders, offered Tyson an employment opportunity to come into the workshop and learn on the job once a week.

Mr Flounders said he wished opportunities like this existed when he was starting in the industry.

"I had a real tough time when I started doing this, so I went to TAFE for half a day a week to learn mechanics, but we didn't get any practical work," he said.

"It took me two years after school before I could get a job as an apprentice, so I know how important this is for young people."

 

From left, Alstonville High student Tyson Dalziel, mentor Toni Bellos and manager of Alstonville Auto care Richard Flounders.
From left, Alstonville High student Tyson Dalziel, mentor Toni Bellos and manager of Alstonville Auto care Richard Flounders.

 

Connecting the dots, or the student with businesses, is Toni Bellos, a school-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBAT) mentor for the Department of Education, working on the new Educational Pathways Pilot Program.

Ms Bellos said the program offered students a pathway into employment.

"A school-based trainee or apprentice only needs a minimum of eight hours a week of paid work with a business, and it's something employers have been open to," she said.

"I have five schools that I work closely with: Alstonville High, Ballina Coast High, Mullumbimby High, Murwillumbah High and Wollumbin High schools.

"We work with students from Years 9 to 12 who are interested in completing their HSC, along with gaining a recognised qualification, plus paid employment," she said.

Ms Bellos said the program had employed four mentors across NSW.

"Mentors offer career guidance and support for students," she said.

The pilot program will be in place until 2023, and Ms Bellos currently has school-based placements in areas such as retail, painting, banking, alied health, plumbing, butchering, construction, hospitality and aged care.

Any Northern Rivers businesses who would like to know more about this program can contact Ms Bellos at toni.bellos@det.nsw.edu.au or 0436 853 411.