The CCF SA is very proud to announce the launch of Roads2Civil.
Roads2Civil is the Civil Contractors Federation SA’s pathway program for school children to pursue a career in civil construction. It includes careers education, industry tasters and accredited skills clusters to assist young people to make a decision as to whether civil construction is for them, and if so, to provide a relevant and age appropriate educational pathway into an apprenticeship.
Why do we need a program like Roads2Civil?
Historically, civil construction has not been high on the agenda of careers education in schools.
How does this happen when most toddlers and primary school children love nothing more than to play with diggers in the sandpit, construct feats of engineering with Lego and watch in awe as they see big machinery working away on every construction site they pass?
With the launch of the civil construction apprenticeship in 2019, it is highly important that the industry provides the right messages to the future workforce to encourage suitable and aspirational young people to join a fulfilling and rewarding career in civil. CCF, as the industry association, has been at the forefront of these discussions, working closely with the SA Department of Education and the SA Department of Innovation and Skills to make the changes that are required.
The time is right
VET education in school is currently at a very interesting juncture. The new ‘VET in Schools’ policy has been released for implementation in 2022, with a focus on ensuring VET education is industry led, outcome driven and meaningful for the learners taking part.
With $12.9b for infrastructure projects on the table for SA, it is clear that our industry is seen as an integral part of the national, and local, economic recovery strategy following COVID-19.
Unfortunately, the civil construction industry has always been the poor relation when it comes to young people choosing careers in construction. However, this is changing with the collaborative efforts of the CCF SA’s newly established Group Training Organisation (GTO), Civil Apprenticeships and Careers Ltd (CACL), and its Registered Training Organisation (RTO), Civil Train, through the Roads2Civil initiative.
2020 pilot with the Western Adelaide Secondary Schools Network (WASSN)
Having already undertaken lots of workforce development training with the City of Charles Sturt, Civil Train was approached midway through 2020 by the Council to work on a new program with Henley High School and WASSN. They were looking for a VET program of accredited training that would enable civil projects around the school to get completed as well as provide opportunities for participants to move into school based apprenticeships.
Civil Train, CACL and Henley High School collaboratively designed a cluster of accredited skills that achieved the requirements to meet 20 Stage 1 SACE credits.
- RIIBEF201D Plan and organise work
- RIICCM205E Carry out manual excavation
- RIICCM207D Spread and compact materials manually
- RIISAM203D Use hand and power tools
- RIIWHS201D Work safely and follow WHS policies and procedures
This was a novel approach, as traditionally VET in Schools would require a whole qualification (certificate I or II level), which is delivered one day a week for a year or two, entirely within a school environment.
We wanted to do things a little differently.
- Delivering a skills cluster, instead of a whole qualification:
With 16 apprenticeships up for grabs with Civil Apprenticeships and Careers Ltd, this program was employer-led. Employers are looking for resilient, reliable and safety conscious individuals who are passionate about making civil construction their career, to become apprentices. It is important to remember that technical skills will be developed over the next three years – that is the purpose of an apprenticeship!
The units selected provided flexibility and opportunity for various practical projects to take place, whilst providing a suitable level of exposure to the industry to help students confirm their career choices. In this instance, we used paving and concreting as the projects through which students developed the knowledge and skills required for the accredited units.
- Recruiting for the program as if it was a job:
Application and recruitment for the program was robust.
Students and parents were invited to an information evening, to understand the program and the employment opportunities arising. Following presentations by the CCF SA team, students were required to submit an expression of interest, explaining why they were keen to be considered for the program.
Students were then invited to attend a recruitment day. With students from multiple schools attending, it was a great opportunity to test team work and working in new situations. The GTO conducted group interviews and team activities, followed by individual interviews which included each student having to provide a pitch to their potential employer. With a further interview by Civil Train and a Language, Literacy, Numeracy assessment, the final 16 participants were selected.
- Practical training on a real site
The Civil Train live works site at Burton provides a real civil construction experience for students new to the industry. What better way to immerse students into a civil construction program than to attend a real site, with real procedures, working alongside real apprentices and heavy earthmoving machinery?
Students on the program were required to commit to forfeit one week of their school holidays to attend training at the live works site. Every single student attended.
So, whilst week one and week three of the program were conducted at the school, week 2 was a full 38-hour week of practical experience at Civil Train’s site. Students then went back to school to apply their training on the final paving projects around the school grounds, with a much deeper insight of civil construction.
- Working with industry stakeholders
With industry heavyweights in CCF SA, CACL, Civil Train, City of Charles Sturt and the Renewal SA Works Program, Roads2Civil had all of the ingredients to be a success. But even with exceptional industry involvement, the school ethos around innovation and VET was paramount. We needed forward-thinking schools who would dare to do things a bit differently. Henley High School showed this leadership. The Department for Education was also extremely supportive of the Roads2Civil pilot and have been accepting of the ongoing advice regarding how civil construction training in the school system needs to be considered as we move forward within the new policy framework.
This industry voice has been further facilitated by the CCF SA’s role on the SA Government’s Industry Skills Council for Construction, Mining and Energy, culminating in the recognition of a civil construction Flexible Industry Pathway (FIP) under the new VET in Schools framework.
We would also like to acknowledge the financial support provided by the Renewal SA Works Program, who provided all students with full PPE, paid for the delivery of White Card and hosted a site tour of the Bowden development.
We would also like to thank the City of Charles Sturt who provided a superb venue in Woodville Town Hall, as well as refreshments, for both the information session and graduation ceremony, with Mayor Angela Evans making herself available to share some inspiring words with the students on both occasions.
The GTO is currently making the final selection of new civil apprentices from the Roads2Civil pilot, with the expectation that all 16 will make the transition to a career in civil construction. These students have gone through a rigourous, yet efficient, process to determine their suitability for a career in civil. It is anticipated most will stay enroled at school so they can complete their SACE, whilst also undertaking a paid apprenticeship with CACL – this is known as a school based or flexible apprenticeship.
So if you are looking for your next superstar apprentice, we only take on the best – get in touch with Rebecca Pickering at Civil Apprenticeships and Careers to find out more about hosting a Roads2Civil graduate and apprentice in your business. For more information click here