Gippsland’s a great region of Victoria, it’s a diverse region of Victorian and includes lots of industries, but in particular, the energy industry is a major part of our economy. The VEET program, meaning Victorian Energy and Education Training program, gives us an opportunity to bring people in at the younger ages and give them a taste of the industry so that we’re building a pool of interested and skilled young people ready to take up positions in the industry as the needs arise.
*Speaker 2 – GARETH DOWNES, Customer & Community Manager South East Region Ausnet Services*
We started a recruitment process for apprentices and trainees and what we’ve found when we were advertising the roles was that school leavers didn’t understand what a linesman or what a trainee technical officer was, so we approached the LLEN and had a discussion around what we can do to actively communicate to schools and to careers teachers what roles Ausnet Services had on offer at that time.
There were the needs of the industry itself and the industry identified that it needed to continue to upskill its workforce in making sure there’s a future workforce. Schools on the other hand needed opportunities to get people, young people, to experience the industry and have a go in order to look at potential future opportunities. So, the VEET program in some ways was almost a 'no brainer' - let’s put those two sets of needs and marry them together.
*Speaker 3 – KATE BOYER, Year 10 Team Leader Warragul Regional College
JAYDYN KING, Career & Pathway Advisor Drouin Secondary College*
We’ve got students and it can be students, young girls, young boys coming all the way from Cann River at the P to twelve school there all the way to Drouin Secondary College at the other end of the region even down to Inverloch and Wonthaggi down the South Gippsland Bass Coast area can access the VEET program, so it gives a broad range of schools the opportunity to participate within this industry.
The VEET program really gives students a taste of what it’s like to be a line worker or a technical trainee, really a 'day in the life of'. The students get to spend a day at the line school at Chadstone where they're exposed to working at heights and some of the trade activities that our line workers get involved in and then they come to us and do workplace learning (SWL) for a number of days a week.
*KATE BOYER & JAYDYN KING*
It’s provided students with a real insight into the energy industry that they wouldn’t necessarily get, being in the rural regional area it can be hard to access work placements, so through the VEET program having the work placement with Ausnet Services is a real highlight for our students.
*Speaker 4 – ABBEY EVANS, Current Participant, Drouin Secondary College*
I’m doing a VET course which is a Certificate Two in Engineering. It takes me through a lot of boiler making, a lot of fitting, turning, and does tie in to this VEET course. The reason I was sort of interested in the VEET program was because it’s different, not many people get the opportunity to do it and getting into that workforce would be really exciting just seeing what it is like and having the opportunity and I think it will be really cool.
We’ve had over four hundred and twenty students do work placement with Ausnet Services since 2004, and during that time we’ve actively recruited and employed around fifty apprentices and trainees across Gippsland. Around half of that fifty have come from the VEET program, which has been a fantastic result.
*Speaker 5 – PETER EDWARDS, Linesman, Ausnet Services*
The key interest about the VEET program that really grabbed my attention was developing my understanding of electricity and that field and being able to expand my options, open as many doors as I could. I was currently doing a course in electrotechnology so I thought, "Why not give it a crack?" The VEET program really provided a bit of a guided walk through, to come from school into that working life. If I didn’t have the program in itself to show me that different career options and opportunities, I don’t think I would have ended up where I am now and today working with Ausnet.
The students we’ve employed as a result of the VEET program, they’ve already had a sample of the industry and they know what they’re heading into, they’ve had the opportunity to see how the guys work together and certainly the teamwork and using their own aptitude has been a benefit that we’ve been able to see before we actually employ them as part of the Structured Workplace Learning.
*KATE BOYER & JAYDYN KING*
I think the success of the program really lies in the partnership between the Baw Baw Latrobe LLEN and Ausnet Services, having those two work together helps the schools then get into industries that they can’t get into, offer student work placement, visitations they wouldn’t normally get and then the schools aren’t all out there individually chasing that as well, having a key group that’s organising it really helps us and it will continue with the success of the program.