The University of Queensland (UQ) relies on apprentices to learn their trades while keeping its world-class research equipment in peak condition. From there, entry-level recruits become ready and able to step into permanent jobs in Queensland and in a near-countless number of industries, helping to support communities and the wider economy.
One individual showing great strides in this respect is engineering apprentice Ethan Park, who recently picked up an award for Queensland Apprentice of the Year.
The 21-year-old recently completed his Certificate III in Engineering at the university’s Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), making him the third apprentice from UQ to win the accolade. He now works full-time at the QBI workshop as a technical officer, where he engineers and maintains research equipment.
UQ has been impressed with its entry-level recruits, recently expressing how it has “some of Queensland’s best apprentices”.
Ethan, too, has been pleased with his professional development, which continues today as he puts his skills to good use.
“It’s a unique place to work – every day is different and we work with so many different materials, and the applications are so vast, creating everything from medical devices to lab benches,” he told UQ.
“I’m currently half way through my restricted electrical ticket, which will allow me to disassemble machinery and motors, and that will open up whole new avenues for what I can do.”
A fertile ground for apprenticeships
Apprenticeships in Queensland are giving people the opportunity to develop their skills while playing an important part in the state’s development. Apprentices on the university’s campus are responsible for creating new engineering solutions from scratch for the facility’s researchers, in turn supporting their greatest breakthroughs.
Mentor and former Apprentice of the Year John Steptoe has worked at developing the skills of UQ’s apprentices since picking up the same accolade back in 2000. He guided the on-the-job training of Ethan, as well as the other award-winners who have passed trough the university’s program.
Mr Steptoe said the workplace environment at UQ has played a key part in nurturing successful apprentices over the past few decades.
“Winning the award three times is a great reflection of the university’s training systems,” he explained.
“We’re working in such a high-precision environment and we’re always striving to make the equipment better – more precise, better finishes and finer detail – to help advance the research that goes on here.”
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator