Recently the Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills, Di Farmer, made a visit to PWR Advanced Cooling Technology, the Gold Coast based headquarters of the global PWR brand providing specialised cooling systems to the automotive, motorsports, defence and aerospace industries.
PWR have always invested in their staff, providing qualification skills that can assist their employee’s career paths in the automotive, engineering and manufacturing industries. They currently have 30 apprentices on staff, supported by BUSY At Work, an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.
The Minister Di Farmer, along with Managing Director for BUSY At Work, Paul Miles, listened to the history of PWRs management and their passion for skilling up the next generation.
Kees Weel (CEO at PWR) and Mick Cullen (Production Manager) started their own careers in the trade through apprenticeships. In fact, Mick completed his apprenticeship with PWR many years ago, signed up through BUSY At Work.
“Apprentices are extremely important to us because they are the next generation and these young adults have a foundation at PWR that we never had…they are so tech savvy and can help take us to the next level”, Mick stated.
“I completed my apprenticeship in 2002 with BUSY At Work and I remember getting a call from them when I first started, asking me questions on how my experience was and making sure everything was going well for me in the work place.
“You can go just as far with a trade as someone who has done four years at university. An example is us – two guys who have only done trades are now running a half billion dollar company”, Mick further stated.
Kees agrees “You don’t have to be the brightest kid you just have to have the right attitude and we can teach you anything, if you want to do it. Look after you career and the opportunities are here”.
Many of the apprentices at PWR have an interest in the racing car industry or in automotive engineering, which is what led them to the organisation and to their chosen career path.
Max Norris is undertaking a four-year apprenticeship as a Fitter and Turner, undertaking a Certificate III in Engineering. While Max had previously worked in a range of careers, including landscaping, handyman work and hospitality, his real interest is in car racing.
“Racing is a big passion of mine and I knew of the company and the reputation they had within the racing industry so I applied out of interest – two and a half years later I’m still here! I want to get more involved in the racing side of things and expand my knowledge in machining and fitting”, Max said.
Another of PWR’s apprentices, Griffin Watson, won PWR’s Apprentice of the Year in 2019.
Near completion of his four-year apprenticeship as a Fitter and Turner, Griffin stated “I have always loved manufacturing, machines, metal cutting, and CNC specifically so I knew this is the place to be. I have a lot more to learn here from a lot of skilled programmers and machinists and there’s also a lot more to learn on the engineering side of things too”.
Managing Director for BUSY At Work, Paul Miles, stated “It was great to showcase to Minister Di Farmer an organisation like PWR who really believe in skilling the next generation through apprenticeships. All the apprentices at PWR seem to genuinely love what they do and they are well supported by their employer. I have no doubt there is an excellent career path ahead for all of them!”