Hands-on advice on offer

By Benalla Ensign

The Hands on Trade Career Expo is a great opportunity for Benalla’s young people to find a fulfilling path in life.

Following the success of the inaugural event, this year’s expo is hoping to attract even more students seeking to enter a trade.

The expo is run in partnership between NE Tracks LLEN, The Personnel Group, Sarina Russo Apprenticeships, Tomorrow Today, Benalla Mansfield Toyota, Dosser Panels, FCJ College and Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE.

It provides young people with the opportunity to get hands on and try out a range of different trades, from plumbing to mechanics and everything in between.

The expo was created to fill a void in the area of trades day-focused career events.

The aim is to encourage young people and the wider community in Victoria’s north east to have access to hands on trade career information and to engage employers to become involved in promoting their respective industries.

The day is designed with the hands-on component being the most effective way to engage young people and the wider community.

The expo has five components to it:

●Offering advice to the wider community and young people aged 14 to 19 years old currently in school experiencing hands-on activities with various trade and industry professionals;

●Various industries and trades have the opportunity to showcase their professions in an engaging manner;

●Service and training providers get an opportunity to showcase what they can offer in an engaging manner;

●Local business networks, councils, industry exhibitors, service and training providers get to attend the personnel group networking lunch during the event; and

●Students will assist in the running the event as part of their VCAL studies.

Last year Brody Ryan attended the event as a Year 12 student from FCJ College and was inspired by the exhibit being operated by Benalla Mansfield Toyota.

‘‘It was great to get first-hand experience in exactly what trades were available on the day and it certainly motivated me towards getting an apprenticeship,’’ Brody said.

He also participated in the timed ‘‘Hands-on automotive challenge’’ and won the competition by a handsome margin.

His reward was getting to be a passenger in a race car at Winton Motor Raceway, which he greatly enjoyed.

After attending the expo Brody completed his resume and visited Benalla Mansfield Toyota, where he completed a structured workplace learning placement.

He then applied for a full-time apprenticeship, which he was successful in getting and he still working today.

Benalla Mansfield Toyota service manager Peter Gardiner said it was great to have young people like Brody in the business who were passionate about wanting to learn the automotive trade and who had tinkered with cars in the past.

‘‘The hands-on trades career expo certainly helps local trade businesses because it opens students’ eyes up to what they may incur and what opportunities are on offer in any particular trade,’’ Mr Gardiner said.

Event chair Shane Crispin from Ne Tracks LLEN said the support the event received from the community was invaluable.

‘‘We also get great support from employers and schools, and we’re able to offer a really great opportunity for people to come and try so many hands-on trade activities,’’ Mr Crispin said.

‘‘(These) include panel beating, spray painting, dyno testing cars, mechanical repairs, tyre changes, oil and filter changes, leap tests, strength pullers, plumbing, 3D Printing, drone operation, hydraulic connections, hair styling, colouring nails, operating motors by hand, making cakes and coffee and engineering tasks among others.

‘‘With over 40 activities on offer there is bound to be something to interest every taste.’’

●For more information, phone Shane Crispin on 0427712634 or check the Facebook page ‘‘Hands On Trades Career Expo’’. The event is for free and is held on Thursday, May 3, at Winton Motor Raceway with two sessions on offer, from 9am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm.