The world has had to adapt to a new way of living and working in the current environment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Programmed, we are no different. We’ve adapted to best respond to the needs of our customers and our people. This includes our apprentices and trainees, of whom many are not able to be on-site right now to complete the practical elements of their respective courses.
So, while many of them are at home, our team has risen to the challenge and are implementing new ways of supporting and engaging with our apprentices and trainees.
Our NETTS program currently has 51 apprentices spread across first, second, third and fourth years of their training. Due to TAFE closures and safety requirements on-site, all are now completing their training remotely.
In addition to the regularly scheduled check-in meetings, our team had the idea to involve our third and fourth years with the training of the younger levels.
In NETTS, the first and second years of the program are based in a structured learning environment to give apprentices the skills, knowledge and experience required to transition into an on- or offshore role in their third year.
So, while our first and second years have regular sessions that they dial into with ACEPT (Australian Centre of Energy and Process Training), our third and fourth years have been left without the same number of contact hours to maintain as they would normally be completing through their on-the-job training on-site.
To harness this spare time and create more development opportunities for all, our team tasked the third and fourth years with reviewing old learning guides and presentations and updating them to align with the NETTS program.
Each apprentice then develops a presentation and corresponding set of questions on a topic, which is then presented to the first and second years over a video call. The first/second years are then asked to complete the questions, before dialling back in for a tutorial session to discuss their answers.
Our third/fourth year apprentices have also been invited, when available, to listen in on the first/second year sessions where they take turns in presenting on a safety topic or oil and gas company or site. Our third/fourth years can then offer their advice on their presentation styles, add knowledge from their own personal journeys through the program and relate the topic back to something they have experienced on-site.
NETTS Training Coordinator Lucie Alexander said, ‘it’s opened up a new dialogue between our NETTS apprentices that would not have otherwise existed, at least to this extent. Our first/second years get to chat to the older apprentices about their studies and hear about their experiences onsite, and our third/fourth years get to build their presentation and coaching skills, helping them to maintain a sense of purpose.’
First year Instrumentation Electrician apprentice Eboni Seymour said that she has enjoyed the valuable insight that the third/fourth years have been providing since they began learning from home.
‘Being able to learn about the environment that we will be in, from people who have been in our shoes, is helping us to adequately prepare for working on/off-site. Being able to interact with our peers has helped us to grow a network of people who can help support and guide us through our journey even after the isolation is over.’
Fourth year Mechanical apprentice Amber Dunderdale mirrored Eboni’s comments and said that ‘it’s been really enjoyable getting to know the younger years, helping them out and sharing my knowledge that I have obtained over the last three years.’
‘It’s also been very helpful for me as there were topics that I didn’t know everything about, so I have learnt through teaching them’.
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