BOC is rolling out a new structured apprentice development program across Australia and New Zealand in instrumentation electrical and mechanical fitting.
The program is designed to help BOC meet future skill needs and follows a series of successful pilots in NSW and Victoria.
Directly linked to workforce planning requirements, the program includes structured rotations allowing the apprentices to develop a wide range of specialist skills. This includes skills in key areas where industry wide shortages are beginning to occur.
According to BOC, the program is a key way in which we are addressing increasing skill shortages in the engineering trade and provides a great opportunity for knowledge sharing across the business.
BOC has a highly experienced but aging workforce in its CES and maintenance service teams, one of its main trade-related, customer-facing business units.
As these employees retire it is important that we retain their know-how through initiatives like the apprenticeship program.
While much of the learning is on the job, it is far from informal. All employees supervising apprentices also undertake extensive training to ensure they provide possible support and advice.
The program is sponsored by senior members of the BOC leadership team who have a direct responsibility in looking for suitable entry level positions for qualified apprentices upon completion of their training.
The apprentices all agree that the program provides great hands on experience working alongside people who know the job inside out.
This transfer of knowledge and experience is important in retaining knowledge within the business.
Further training is provided by TAFE. The program is a first career step. BOC hopes that some of these people will continue to develop their careers, with further study and experience, into engineering and management roles.
The pilot results are already showing promising results. So far all apprentices completing the program have taken up full time roles in the company.
Of the 18 apprentices already involved in the program many have received top marks at TAFE.
Much notable is Stuart Martin who last year received the outstanding student post trade maintenance at the North Melbourne Institute of TAFE.
Stuart has also taken the initiative to study additional training units to further develop his engineering skills.