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Informing, igniting and inspiring the skills for our future

28 August 2020
Maddie Rickets, Austal


During National Skills Week, NSC celebrated the vast array of career opportunities available for skilled workers in Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Industry.


National Skills Week is the annual focal point for promoting Australia’s Vocational Education and Training sector (VET) to students and the wider public.


This year, it was held from Monday 24 August until Sunday 30 August. NSC celebrated the theme, “Inform, Ignite and Inspire” by profiling two young people from Austal whose career paths reflect the challenging and diverse roles available in Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Industry and the fulfillment a vocational career can provide.


Trade roles are vital to the success of Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding capability, and many young people, including Austal employees, Maddie Rickets and Tom Leiner, have already made the shift into vocational careers.


When Maddie Rickets started planning her career during high school, she was thinking more along the lines of lenses and tripods than circuit boards, completing a university degree majoring in photography and writing.


After Maddie finished her degree, she cut a path as a freelancer, but the constant need to chase work contracts and negotiate a fair pay was unappealing, and she quickly realised that she wanted a completely different career.


“I found I didn’t like freelance work and started to think about trades – and thought electrical would be something I’d enjoy.”


With strong support of her family and friends, Maddie undertook an electrical pre-apprenticeship at Thornlie TAFE in Perth, Western Australia.


Read more about Maddie’s journey into a career in naval shipbuilding.


From an early age Tom Leiner was interested in all things mechanical. Growing up on a farm, Tom enjoyed spending time tinkering with motorbikes and machinery, gaining an appreciation for the mechanics of how things operated. So, it seemed an obvious choice to undertake a Degree in Mechanical Engineering.


After completing two years of his Engineering degree and learning about the theoretical side of engineering, it became clear to Tom that what he really loved was being hands-on. His interest in operating advanced mechanical systems was a key driver to him seeking an apprenticeship as a mechanical fitter – and he was offered an apprenticeship with world-leading aluminum ship builder, Austal.


Read more about Tom’s journey into a career in naval shipbuilding.

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See also:

National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise remains on course
Supporting the next generation of innovators through the National Naval Shipbuilding Pipeline Scholarship Pilot
The next frontier of technology for Naval Shipbuilding Scholarship recipient
Electricity sparks scholarship opportunity