Gordon Watkinson is one of the first apprentices to complete his trade training.
Gordon Watkinson is one of the first apprentices to complete his trade training. Contributed

First apprentices finish fast-tracked training on Curtis

THE first of the Curtis Island apprentices have completed their trade training, in a fast-tracked program to upskill LNG construction workers.

Ten Bechtel trainees have received their trade certificates in the past six weeks, and the program aims to train 300 under the Federal Government's National Apprenticeship Program.

Electrician Gordon Watkinson was one of the first to complete the training.

"While in the army I gained my electrical fitter ticket," he said. "By doing the NAP program, it was a chance to upgrade to the electrical fitter mechanic trade.

"I've finished my trade and am now gainfully employed as an electrician.

"It's good to see that the scheme works and it's good to be the first person from Bechtel across these projects to complete it."

The program was announced in 2011.

To gain entry, candidates are required to provide evidence through a recognition of prior learning assessment that they already have at least 40% of the skills aligned with their target trade.

Gordon achieved 57%.

Bechtel Gladstone general manager Kevin Berg said the company had almost 300 apprentices working on the projects.

"It's a great achievement for these first apprentices to successfully complete their trade certificates," he said.

"We're extremely proud that we are able to help so many people to advance their skills across the trades on offer with our construction projects."

The NAP apprentices are working across projects in carpentry, electrical, mechanical fitting, instrument and control, and boiler making trades.

The NAP is an alternative for Australians with extensive trade skills and experience, but not necessarily a formal qualification, to complete trade training, potentially within 18 months.



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