The Skill Engineer Ltd
2022 Annual Report
Girls of Steel
Acknowledgement of Country
This video was produced by Skilled Creative for the Department of Education’s Ready Arrive Work program.
A world where young people are valued and supported to reach their full potential.
Creating personalised opportunities that engage disadvantaged and vulnerable young people in economic, social, and civic activity.
Girls of Steel
I’m pleased to present the 2022 annual report for The Skill Engineer Ltd. This report highlights the key accomplishments and challenges faced by the organisation over the past year, our strategies and plans for the future.
The Skill Engineer Ltd is dedicated to improving the lives of young people and our success in 2022 can be attributed to the dedication of our wonderful managers, employees and Directors.
We are reaching a crucial moment in history. The upcoming referendum could see a Voice to Parliament enshrined in the 2023 constitution. As we look toward the future, what role do our youth play in Australia’s steps toward reconciliation?
Through creation and storytelling, our young people can impart the critical messages required to take positive action. Youth have a much greater understanding of our shared history and know how the past has negatively impacted the lives of many First Nations people. We all have a role to play.
The Skill Engineer Ltd is dedicated to working with our young people through the Structured Workplace Learning program, Skilled Creative and other programs to ensure we take the right steps toward reconciliation, ensuring the voices of our First Nations people are heard.
In addition, youth have a central role in driving innovative technologies and are in the best possible position to steer the positive development of artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies.
New technology, including AI, has the opportunity to release the true potential of our youth and help prepare them for the changing future of work. The Skill Engineer Ltd acknowledges the value brought by the different perspectives of young people regarding new technologies and looks forward to exploring new possibilities through the multimedia, AI, information technology and entertainment industries.
We will continue to make important steps in empowering young people via vocational opportunities to voice their opinions and play an active part in the work of reimagining and transforming our future.
As we look excitedly toward the future, I’d also like to acknowledge the great work of the organisation in 2022.
One of our most successful initiatives is the Structured Workplace Learning program; a valuable work placement experience for students studying Vocational Education and Training (VET) subjects.
The program has seen a significant increase in student numbers and placement performance among participating students in 2022. Covid-19 disrupted industry placements across the region, however our team worked innovatively with schools, TAFE and host employers to ensure all students had an opportunity to complete a work placement.
In addition, the Skill Engineer Ltd continues to strengthen relationships with host employers and foster new partnerships with local businesses, many who have bounced back with vigour after the impacts of Covid-19.
The Structured Workplace Learning program encourages important two-way learning between youth and industry, giving students a taste into a profession of interest, and gives employers the opportunity to scout for potential talent, and to further develop their future workforce.
The Girls of Steel program is a unique initiative offering women a foot in the door in non-traditional trades in both Wangaratta and on the NSW Central Coast. The program empowers women to gain practical skills and knowledge and gives them the confidence to succeed.
The Skill Engineer Ltd understands that boosting the number of women in the manual trades requires cultural shifts in society as much as within the industries themselves and has worked hard to provide a safe, inclusive work environment for women in non-traditional trades.
I would like to acknowledge Maggie MacFie, CEO of the Skill Engineer Ltd for her leadership and contribution to the success of the rapid growth of the organisation. The Skill Engineer Ltd’s enormous efforts have been recognised by various stakeholders throughout 2021 and has been the recipient of numerous grants.
With its focus on youth and its commitment to advancing the lives of young people, The Skill Engineer Ltd continues to grow and expand its reach to more young people. We look forward to a future of endless possibilities.
I would also like to take the opportunity to welcome Matt Grant to the role of Chairperson of The Skill Engineer Ltd. Matt brings a wealth of knowledge to the organisation and is truly an asset to the Board of Directors.
The Skill Engineer Ltd has had a year of Covid-19 lockdowns, big project commencements, renegotiations of space back at Kariong’s Green Central, great teamwork every day in work placement, and Skilled Creative recognised by the Department of Education for the extraordinary creative work that is generated by the team.
The work placement team reached all KPIs, although placements were not made in Term 3 and 4 of 2021 due to school lockdowns. Catch up occurred in Term 1 creating considerable pressure. Whilst in lockdown, staff undertook a range of projects generated by the department and in house. There were catch up training sessions and professional development opportunities. All staff were pleased to return to the office in the latter part of Term 4. In this time of lockdown, the key project was the staging of the inaugural virtual VET Awards for 2021. What a success. Congratulations to Skilled Creative and all the team for an event that was second to none in that year and widely applauded for its engagement of young people in the production. The contribution by our employer base demonstrated the esteem that work placement is held in developing the skill base of the future workforce.
Skilled Creative has continued to produce weekly content for the Youth Voice podcast. The project has also been engaged to produce, film, edit and consult with Department of Education on the RAW project. The Welcome to Country that the team filmed, and the logo created by Erin have been widely applauded.
The Girls of Steel project kicked off in June 2021 in Wangaratta. Its start date was delayed in NSW due to lockdowns. Despite this, the interest in the project has been overwhelming. It is a great success and we are looking at where the future potential for this initiative may lie. The NG Central School has welcomed us to Green Central where the Girls of Steel Gosford group operate from. We also have use of the old Bara Barang demountable for our classroom space.
This year the (Regional Education Industry Partnerships) REIP project team approved funding for the BRACE program. This comprises of resilience and self-esteem workshops for diverse learners to support them to undertake work placements and to demystify the workplace. These projects will run in the latter half of 2022 and into 2023.
For short periods of time, The Skill Engineer Ltd has provided executive support for Broome Youth and Families Hub Inc. (BYFH). This proved to be a good funding stream and has cemented the relationship of our organisation with BYFH in the Kimberley, paving the way for future projects.
I have been voted onto the workplace learning committee. It has been an enjoyable time and I have been able to promote collaborative approaches to funding with network members as well as advocating for strategic overhaul and a relook at the constitution.
In the year that we are reporting I would like to advise that I have applied for over $5.5mil worth of funding and am pleased to advise, we have secured over $1.6mil. We were not successful with two bids for Transition to Work worth approximately $3Mil. It was an ambition bid given we had only been trading for 7 months. The secured funding does not include work placement funds granted in the previous financial year.
This year we welcomed two new Board members, Emma Aldrich and Matt Grant. Their contribution has been exceptional, and I thank them. I also thank the other Board members. Each member has a unique perspective, and they bring these perspectives to the table at every meeting.
I would like to make a special acknowledgement of Brendan who launched the Girls of Steel and who remains the poster boy and expert on the project.
Erin has extraordinary superpowers as a graphic and web designer. She has made our brand a standout and we love the optics and freshness of her approach. Charlotte has been a guiding professional hand behind Skilled Creative and the organisation continues to reap the rewards of this.
We have a young and talented Board taking on and growing into executive roles and providing an enthusiastic and innovative approach to the governance of our organisation.
Thank you to all the team at The Skill Engineer Ltd. Your skill base, experiences and knowledge are vast. Thank you also to Sue who manages all our bookkeeping from Wangaratta and has never missed a pay. We have excellent and trusted accountants – Kevin Byrne and Associates providing back up to Sue.
Debbie Thompson is a miracle on legs. As CEO I could not do my job without her guidance and contribution to leadership and a healthy, happy, and productive work environment. Given the year, the Covid-19 lockdown and the disruption to classes and work placement in Term 1 2022, she has been the lighthouse. Thank you, Debbie.
Work placement provides an invaluable experience for students, giving them the opportunity to use their classroom learning in the workplace.
TSE liaises with local schools, External Vocational Education and Training (EVET) providers and host employers to coordinate HSC VET Work Placements for all eligible students.
Dane, Year 11 Construction student from Gorokan High School
“Dane was a great addition to the team! He had no issues fitting in with the guys and didn’t shy away from any tasks he was asked to perform.”
– Bryan McMullon, Director, Twin Lakes Air.
Monet, Year 11 Business Services student from Kincumber High School
“Monet assisted with all admin tasks including printing, filing, emails, helping with technical enquiries and assisting with MYOB.”
– Andrea Cingi, Principal, NG Central School.
Ryley, Year 12 Commercial Cookery student from St Edwards College
“If you could get me students like Ryley I would host a student every week as he is outstanding, and there will definitely be a job offer for him after placement!”
– Assistant Chef, Top Point Café.
Lillian, Year 11 Business Services student from St Joseph’s Catholic College
“Lillian has been learning reception, database entry, emails, visiting host employers and admin tasks. At school she is creative and enjoys art and wood tech.”
Framework: Hospitality and Commercial Cookery
Host Employer: Espresso Warrior, Lake Haven
Espresso Warrior at Lake Haven show enormous support to our work placement students giving them experience both front and back of house.
The staff are fantastic with the students, and are welcoming and patient. Keith is happy to take work placement students whenever we ask and has never said no.
Host Employer: Coastal Brew Cafe, Wyong
Coastal Brew Cafe, Wyong, is a new employer who began hosting hospitality work placements in 2022.
Alana from Coastal Brew takes a student every time we have asked and is enjoying every bit of showing the students how to run a cafe!
Framework: Sport and Recreation
Host Employer: Treetops Adventure Central Coast
Four students from Gorokan High School have now completed work placement at Treetops for their Sport and Recreation studies.
Park Manager, Doc, says the students were so amazing that 3 of the 4 are now employed at Treetops! What a fabulous opportunity for the students and an awesome place to undertake work placement.
Host Employer: Michel’s Pattiserie, West Gosford
After a long time not hosting, Mark agreed to take on Indiana for hospitality work placement. He was so impressed that he offered her a job and she joined the team.
Indiana is now a valued employee who bounces in for every shift, never looks at the clock and nothing is a trouble. She has gained new friends and confidence. Winners all around!
“I want to say a massive thank you to The Skill Engineer for letting us host students, bring them onto the job site and show them what we do. We have students come out for a week and experience daily things like building a deck. You can’t experience that at school. A big thing for me is to be able to give them the opportunity to have a crack.
We are looking at putting one of the students on as an apprentice at the end of the year as he really shows some good tikka. Get out here, have a crack and show us what you can do. We have another 12 for the rest of the year. We can’t wait, we love having them here! We make it a fun environment for them.”
– Jono Clarke, Owner, J.Clarke Constructions.
Multiple students being offered employment after work placement
Girls of Steel
Assisting women to gain an apprenticeship in a non-traditional trade
Girls of Steel assists women to gain an apprenticeship in a non-traditional trade.
Nationally, just over 12% of the engineering labour workforce is female. The Girls of Steel program fosters gender diversity in the workplace. It combines training and job skills with the aim of employment on completion. This premise is to encourage female participation and reduce barriers to increase women in trades.
2022 was its 2nd year of operation, with the course well received at both campuses in Wangaratta (VIC) and Kariong (NSW).
The women have delivered some awesome projects. One of highlights was the Wyong Coffee Cart, a custom built van designed for Wyong High School to use at its events. The Girls of Steel Wangaratta participants built it from the ground up, starting with the design, the trailer base, the metal frame and then exterior paneling.
On course completion we saw participants moving into future trade careers in apprenticeships, trade entry-level positions or within their own businesses.
Thanks to our Apprentice Masters Gene Williams and Wayne Kneipp at the Wangaratta campus and James Cross at the Kariong campus for delivery of the program. Thanks also goes to Brendan and Denise who make it all happen.
With support from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Office for Women.
Seeing these empowered women gain employment opportunities on course completion
Assisting young people to re-engage with education and training
The Unlocked program supports school students aged 12-18 who are disengaged from learning, or who are having difficulty re-engaging after COVID-19 lockdowns.
During the program participants took part in cultural immersion, social and emotional wellbeing activities, job readiness, construction, engineering, recording and video production, event management, garden to plate (hospitality), and conservation and land management.
At the end of the year students showed off their skills from the program to host a graduation event
- Planning the Event – Event Management
- Catering – Hospitality & Event Management
- Presentation – Event Management, Metal Engineering, Media, Horticulture & Construction
The parents, carers and staff who attended watched on with excitement at the enthusiasm of the students. They had a new found love for education, by learning a little differently to the traditional classroom environment.
We can’t wait to see them thrive!
Supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.
High attendance rates in the program
Building Resilience and Confidence for Employment
Only 45% of young people with diverse learning needs completed a work placement in 2020. The Skill Engineer wants to ensure these students, who are undertaking VET subjects in Year 11 or 12, are able to complete their work placements.
This is where the Building Resilience and Confidence for Employment (BRACE) program comes in. BRACE builds the resilience and confidence required for students to complete work placement by teaching skills to manage anxiety and mental health issues, setting individual goals and understanding industry expectations. Through discussion, industry visits and strategies to overcome challenging situations, students are supported to thrive in their work placements.
The program is funded by the REIP (Regional Education Industry Partnerships).
Visit to YMCA at Lake Haven
A youth-led creative agency making engaging audio and visual
2022 was a cracking year for Skilled Creative with a long list of achievements.
At Skilled Creative we specialise in all types of content creation including podcast, videography, social media, music production and event sound and lighting. Every week the studio is filled with Year 11 and 12 entertainment work placement students ready and eager to work on real life projects. Here’s a list of the main projects the students have scripted, interviewed, filmed, recorded, edited and performed in:
- Produce media, including photography and voiceovers for the Department of Education, BEC (Board Endorsed Courses) Go2Workplacement website
- Welcome to Australia video and 6 part video series for Department of Education website and Ready Arrive Work program
- Work Placement Work Readiness video series on TikTok and YouTube for the Department of Education, Skills on Point
- TikTok series creation for Workforce Australia and Anglicare Newcastle
- Social Media commercial shoot for host employer Eco Sparky
- Videography and photography for the Workplace Learning Network conference
- The Skill Engineer’s Vocational Education and Training Awards
- Social media content creation for Skilled Creative
- YouthView podcast Season 2 & 3, with an amazing 26 episodes!
To top off a great year Skilled Creative made the move to the Musicians Making A Difference (MAAD) studio. It is conveniently located just a few doors down from The Skill Engineer’s offices in North Gosford so it’s perfect to keep the team connected. We can’t wait to see what great things come out of this creative space where students can make connections in the entertainment industry.
“2022 was huge for Skilled Creative. The students were able to be part of creative projects that are having a major impact across NSW and showcase their creative talents at the same time. It’s been an exciting time to see Skilled Creative, and all of our students that come through our doors, develop and grow.”
– Mike McCarthy, Creative Director of Skilled Creative.
YOUTH VIEW PODCAST
Completing our move to MMAD HQ
COVID-19 scares in early 2022
Youth Reference Group
Youth Voice is a reference group made up of 5 young people, ranging in ages between 16 and 19, that inform TSE when it comes to shaping programs, identifying gaps or applying for funding submissions. Last year, the group met monthly over pizza to discuss and be part of the Youth Opportunities grant proposal to obtain a DigiVan for the Central Coast youth community. We received funding for this in Jan 2023.
Finally meeting face to face for pizza and not online
Inconsistency of meetings as other projects took up our time
Vocational Education & Training
The Vocational Education and Training (VET) Awards recognises student achievement and the valuable support of our host employers in the work placement program.
In 2022, The Skill Engineer hosted their 2nd annual VET Awards. We decided again with the online video stream format via Facebook and the TSE website. This made it more accessible as students, employers and schools could tune in from anywhere to watch it live or via playback.
The Skill Engineer used their in-house creative agency, Skilled Creative, to produce the VET Awards. Under the guidance of Director, Mike McCarthy, Skilled Creative had their weekly entertainment work placement students assist with producing the Awards. Over a number of weeks, students would interview and record winning host employers and students as they received their awards. Two students also hosted the Awards and the half-time break featured two young people singing and playing guitar. All footage was edited and packaged into a neat online video stream and set up to go live.
"Thank you to the employers that provide the hosting experiences. Our students learn so much from these opportunities!”
– Benjamin Yardy, VET Coordinator at TLSC The Entrance.
“Our students have benefited greatly from the many opportunities to learn outside of the classroom and gain practical skills working in local businesses.”
– Ellen Lintjens, Director of Pathways & Transition, NSW Department of Education.
“Thank you for your outstanding work bringing students and employers together. Your staff go above and beyond to ensure every experience is a success."
– Benjamin Yardy, VET Coordinator at TLSC The Entrance.
“Amazing that so many students pathways are straight into employment on transition from school.”
– Maggie MacFie, CEO of The Skill Engineer.
Meeting host employer winners to film their acceptance speeches
Not securing the Minister for Education, but our backup Ellen Lintjens was amazing!
The Skill Engineer would not be what it is without our expert team who are devoted to their participants, students, schools and host employers. The team loves getting out to industry events, networking, visiting schools and supporting host employers with regular team lunches and purchases from our local businesses. We also prioritise culture awareness. We were fortunate to visit a local cultural heritage site with Gavi Duncan, who shared with us aspects of our local First Nation’s history.