How to get work in Gladstone: be a fitter

LOOKING for a job in the Gladstone region?

Your best bet is completing a metal fitter and machinist qualification through high school-based Vocational Education and Training.

About 3107 young students who completed the VET qualification found work in central Queensland.

Electricians (1742), drillers, miners and shot firers (1215), carpenters and joiners (769) and general clerks (768) round out the top five VET graduates to find work in the area, a Queensland School Local Labour Market Profile reveals.

>> Looking for a job? Click here to find work in Gladstone

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek is today announcing 38 more qualifications and skills program subsidies for students to address skills shortages and boost productivity.

"On top of the qualifications that we already subsidise, areas as diverse as engineering, health, hospitality, mining, tourism, transport, utilities and agriculture are now also government subsidised," Mr Langbroek said.

CQUniversity TAFE pro vice-chancellor Dr Greg McMillan said the 2011 coal-mining boom fed a very strong need for more people with metal fitting and machinery skills.

"Around 2011 you had that really high strong demand for coal so the industry was pumping out a high level of production but on top of that you had a very high growth in construction, whether that was in around the Gladstone area with the ports," Dr McMillan said.

"You almost had a perfect synergy of high demand for product, high growth in the specific industry sectors that drew on the mechanical diesel fitters but, of course, you then dragged in a whole range of allied areas such as the carpentry and the general clerks."

Dr McMillan said there would always be a need for these qualifications.

The qualifications will be subsidised from today and the subsidies for skill sets will be available from January.

Top 10 graduates who found jobs through VET courses in the region

1. Metal fitters and machinists: 3107

2. Electricians: 1742

3. Drillers, miners and shot firers: 1215

4. Carpenters and joiners: 769

5. General clerks: 768

6. Sales assistants (general): 628

7. Motor mechanics: 592

8. Child carers: 573

9. Other building and

engineering technicians: 571

10. Truck drivers: 553

- Source: 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census


TECH SAVVY: Recently graduated from his apprenticeship, James Storey shows first-year apprentice Josh Noonan how to work the machinery at Purcell’s Engineering.
TECH SAVVY: Recently graduated from his apprenticeship, James Storey shows first-year apprentice Josh Noonan how to work the machinery at Purcell’s Engineering. Mara Pattison-Sowden

Trade proves to be the right fit for Josh

JOSH Noonan knew he wanted to get into a trade, but it wasn't until he went to a careers expo that he decided to try out as a fitter and turner.

The 17-year-old did work experience for a month with Purcell's Engineering and was taken on this year as an apprentice.

He said the full-time role, which included TAFE studies online, was also hands-on.

"You have to watch and learn," he said. "It challenges your mind and makes you think about what you have to do."

Josh was home-schooled in Gladstone until he went out to get a retail job, but he was determined to get a trade.

"I'm hoping to stay here and see where it takes me," he said.

"People should definitely do work experience to make sure it's something they want to do."

New to the job title of "tradesman", James Storey has just finished his four-year apprenticeship at Purcell's.

"In Gladstone with all this industry around it's great," he said. "There's a huge variety of work and I've been opened up to a lot of different jobs."

Purcell's Engineering director Terry Purcell said the five apprentices were "awesome".

He said it was important that they networked and had the support of the rest of the workplace.

The engineering business has a new opportunity for a first-year apprentice to join the crew at Purcell's.

Topics:  employment gladstone industry jobs trades vet

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