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First graduates of composites engineers apprenticeship

25 August 2016

Seven Boeing Aerostructures Australia employees are the first in Australia to successfully complete the engineering – composites trade apprenticeship.

The certificate presentation ceremony at Boeing’s Port Melbourne facility in August marked an important milestone for all in attendance. The nationally accredited apprenticeship training program was initiated by Composites Australia and realised through the support of Manufacturing Skills Australia.

Launched in 2013 in Victoria through Kangan TAFE, the apprenticeship was picked up by GoTAFE in October 2015 with well-known composites trade trainer Phil Bovis providing continuity for participants.  

Brian Scholes, Learning and Development Trainer / Coordinator with Boeing Aerostructures Australia congratulated the graduates for withstanding the changes that prolonged the duration of their training, which began prior to the composites trade course becoming available.

GoTAFE’s Commercial Manager for Automotive, Engineering, Marine Craft Construction & Composites, Brett Ambrosio also acknowledged the perseverance of the graduates and thanked Boeing for their support and the good partnership between the company’s in-house training and GoTAFE. 

Mr Mark Pontil-Scala, General Manager of Regina Glass Fibre Pty Ltd represented the Composites Australia Board at the certificate presentation ceremony. He joined senior managers from Boeing and representatives of GoTAFE and Manufacturing Skills Australia in congratulating the men on the successful completion of their apprenticeship.

“While your journey has been long and at times challenging, this qualification’s beginnings were similarly challenging, but the rewards are in seeing growing numbers of skilled composite tradespeople in the Australian industry,” said Mr Pontil-Scala.

“These composites tradespeople have reaped the benefit of that work and are to be congratulated for their commitment to complete the apprenticeship. They are, of course, really fortunate to have an employer like Boeing Australia, that is leading the way with innovative composite manufacturing solutions for the aerospace industry.

“Composites is a career that is creative, giving a great deal of satisfaction and reward.  It is also a career where learning never stops, where new technologies and processes are continually being developed and introduced,” said Mr Pontil Scala.

He congratulated Boeing Australia on providing employees with access to a trade qualification in the composites industry which is growing globally as sectors such as aerospace, automotive, transport, civil engineering, architecture and defence recognise the benefits offered by advanced composite technologies.

Troy Yates, Senior Manufacturing Leader at Boeing Australia inspired the group by emphasising that he and many of his fellow senior managers in manufacturing at Boeing Aerospace Australia began their careers as apprentices. “This is only the start for those who want to take their career further. Composites is where the future is with this company.”

Mr Yates asked them to use the knowledge gained across multiple areas of the company’s production line to identify opportunities for improvement.   – ends