Energy business wins Minister’s apprentice award

Victoria’s SP AusNet has been awarded the 2010 Minister’s Award for Excellence for Employers of Australian apprentices by Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, Senator Chris Evans.

The award recognises and rewards employers who demonstrate commitment, innovation and outstanding achievement in the training of Australian apprentices. SP AusNet took out the top award in this category for the Gippsland region.

SP AusNet’s apprentice and trainee manager, Gerard Cooke said the award was recognition of the importance the company places of its training and development on the mix of apprentices, technical trainees and graduates at every office and depot across the business.

“We support our apprentices to ‘learn while they earn’, combining trade school studies with on-the-job experience in a workplace that is safe, healthy, fair and equitable and where diversity is valued and outstanding performance rewarded,” Mr Cooke said.

“Within our apprentice and trainee program, we are currently training 109 trainees and apprentices for careers in the energy utilities industry – of this, 42 are currently working in the Gippsland region,” he said.

Mr Cooke said one of the keys to measuring the success of SP AusNet’s apprentice and trainee program was by the high retention of apprenticeships.

“To date, more than 90 per cent of apprentice and trainees who begin their working life with SP AusNet, remain with the company to continue their careers,” he said.

Mr Cooke attributes parts of the success of this award to SP AusNet’s training and mentoring culture within the business while being part of an industry-wide push to strengthen the country’s energy industry skills base.