17/03/2020 - 11:37

Ex-AFL champion using STEM to help young Aboriginal people build strong careers

17/03/2020 - 11:37


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Ex-champion AFL footballer Phil Matera fully understands the importance of STEM skills in building a successful career and business, and he is now providing similar opportunities to young Aboriginal people.

Through his highly successful business, Matera Electrical, Mr Matera and business partner Dean Kerns have employed and trained more than 60 apprentices since they started the company 18 years ago.

Apprentices complete a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician, one of the many TAFE courses that provides important job skills in science, technology, engineering and maths, collectively known as STEM.

More than 25 of Matera Electrical’s apprentices have been Aboriginal men and women, and they are working on some of the state’s biggest projects.

With the support of Woodside, 100% of Matera Electrical’s apprentices currently working on the WA company’s Karratha Gas Plant and Pluto LNG are Aboriginal people.

Mr Matera said the shared focus on employing Aboriginal apprentices and training them in STEM has been the most exciting aspect of the Woodside contract.

“These people are now skilled tradespeople in their own right, and they are becoming the expert, technical workforce the WA economy needs,” Mr Matera said.

“Making sure our apprentices undertake electrotechnology study at TAFE is vital to building the skills they need for jobs now and into the future.

“I am very proud that Matera Electrical has been at the forefront of using STEM to improve Aboriginal employment and training – our skilled and employed Aboriginal electricians are evidence of that success.”

Mr Matera will feature in a soon-to-be-released state government campaign promoting the importance of STEM skills for preparing Western Australians for the jobs of the future and strengthening and diversifying the state economy.

A key element of the campaign is to encourage young people to select two or more STEM subjects in Years 11 and 12 or through vocational education and training qualifications.

The state government has reduced TAFE fees by 50% for 34 high priority qualifications, including the Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician.

This fee cut, in place until the end of 2021, is providing more Western Australians with access to STEM training and careers.


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