THIS month, Gladstone Ports Corporation is welcoming 20 apprentices and work-placement students to its successful training program.

Out of 10 new apprentices joining this month, three are former work-placement students.

GPC’s Apprentice, Trainee and Work Placement program gives students the choice of training in industrial disciplines such as mechanical fitting, electrical, refrigeration, diesel fitting, plumbing and building.

Saxon Smith is one of the three 2021 work-placement students who are in this year’s intake of apprentices.

“I joined the apprenticeship program at GPC because it will enable me to transition to what I want to be in the future: a high-voltage and instrumentation electrician,” Saxon said.

“I will be able to look after myself, work safely and competently to start my career successfully.”

Acting GPC CEO Paul Heagney said the apprenticeship and training programs were critical in supporting the community and the industry in the region.

“We have some of the best minds and hands in the industry, and we are happy to share our knowledge and experience with the new generations,” Mr Heagney said.

“We are delighted to see three of the ten apprentices this year were actually work placement students at GPC last year, which shows the high level of interest in our training and placement programs.”

State minister for regional development, manufacturing, minister for water and member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the importance of having hands-on experience can’t be underestimated for the region’s future workforce.

“As a fitter and turner by trade, I know how vital it is to have quality leaders teaching and encouraging young people to get into these trades,” he said.

“The Gladstone port is so important to our economy and moulding workers from the beginning means we’ll have the most-skilled feet on the ground, getting the jobs done.”

GPC’s Apprentice, Trainee and Work Placement program invites participants every year based on analysis of business and market needs for certain skills.

Graduates of this program usually enter the market as soon as they graduate, providing the industries in the region with a competent and skilled workforce.