Year 12 student, Tyler Bawden was ‘over the moon’ when he received his work placement report from local Bendigo steel fabricator, Australian Turntable Company.

“They gave me two sheets of paper,” Tyler says. “One was the report, the other was a job offer!

“I have another week of work placement with them in August, and I’ll probably start work in October. I’ll leave BSSC having completed Year 12 and with my apprenticeship organised.”

Tyler requested to complete his work placement with the Australian Turntable Company and says it was a great experience.

The most interesting part was setting up the robotic welder and then seeing how perfectly it did the job,” he says.

And the hardest part?

“Getting up early enough to be at work by 7am.”

Tyler has been working towards a trade apprenticeship since Year 9, However, though you might say he has been ‘preparing’ for this role for most of his life?

“I’ve spent a lot of time with uncles and cousins who are tradies,” he says. “I love mucking around in the shed—I already knew how to weld a bit, and how to use tools like grinders.”

On top of his BSSC studies, Tyler has been attending night school at Bendigo TAFE after Stuart Hamilton advised him about the welding course they offer.

“Stuart was also the one who really helped me when I was in Year 10 and came to BSSC Open Day with Mum and Dad,” Tyler says. “I was really nervous because I didn’t think I could cope with VCE. I hadn’t realised I could do VCAL.”

Although the size of the college daunted Tyler at first, he quickly realised how much he enjoyed his choice of subjects.

“I think it’s the freedom in general that I like.”

Tyler has also been part of a new scheme called Structured Workplace Learning Recognition, designed to enhance employability. It allows students to apply skills and knowledge acquired in VCE VET programs within an appropriately-matched workplace. Students maintain a Workplace Learning Record which gives them an extra credit to their results.

Getting job-ready has been a big part of Tyler’s year, but he still finds time to enjoy the comedy of Peter Helliar from ‘The Project’. And to take the time to notice the impact of certain social trends that concern him.

“People seem to get lost in their mobile phones,” he says. “They are forever sending texts and snap-chats, but forget to talk to others face to face—or insist they can’t get up to speak in public. I think mobile phones are a big social issue.”

Asked what advice he would offer his 12-year-old self, Tyler answered: “Listen to your mum and dad—or people who care about you—even if you’re having a really hard time…. talk to them.

“My Mum and Dad have always been there for me, but I didn’t always realise it.

“Find decent friends, and focus on setting yourself up for a career.”