A record 48 new apprentices started work for Hastings Deering’s mining and construction divisions this week.
The equipment and power solutions supplier said it was astounded when more than 1000 people had applied for its 2018 apprentice program within 24 hours of launching the online applications process.
By the time submissions closed, Hastings Deering had received 1800 applications, with the final intake the largest at the company in four years.
The applications process also provided evidence of the inroads that gender diversification was making in the industry, according to Hastings Deering, as more than 200 females applied for apprenticeships for auto electricians, boilermakers, diesel fitters, fitter machinists, mechanical fitters and electrical fitters.
Hastings Deering’s February intake of apprentices came from Queensland and the Northern Territory, including 30 from Mackay and Rockhampton, five females and five Indigenous people.
Dean Mehmet, Hastings Deering managing director, said the almost doubling of last year’s recruit numbers reaffirmed the company’s commitment to equal opportunities, training and the need to continually replenish its talent pipeline.
“Even though the resource sector is cyclical: continuing with apprenticeships is critical to avoid a skills shortage in the future,” he said.
“As a country, Australia needs to remain agile and on the front foot for when the resources and construction sectors pick up. While many companies are running leaner operations than ever before we need to continue to offer both our young people and mature age workers career pathways.
“This is a very exciting time to be an apprentice with Hastings Deering, in 2016 we offered 84 fourth-year apprentices on-going roles, their four years of hard work paying off with continued employment. In 2017 that figure was 56.”
Hastings Deering is a registered training organisation with learning centres in Brisbane and Papua New Guinea. The company is Queensland’s third largest trainer of apprentices behind two government organisations.
Apprenticeships span four years with the ability to complete the training earlier. All apprentices receive a nationally recognised qualification. The next intake will be in 2019 but Hastings Deering is now reviewing a second intake in 2018.
Hastings Deering employs around 3000 people with more than 5 per cent of the workforce is made up of apprentices.
Since 1989, Hastings Deering has trained almost 1600 apprentices and in 2018 remains one of the largest trainers of apprentice diesel fitters in Australia.