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DST apprentices are valuable assets

23 April 2018
Ashley Trenorden and DST colleague Merran Daniel.
Ashley Trenorden and DST colleague Merran Daniel.

Electronics apprentice Ashley Trenorden is the latest in a long list of apprentices who have learnt the ropes and developed their skills at DST.

For close to 20 years the Scientific Engineering Services (SES) arm of DST has trained apprentices, many of whom are still at DST. Apprentices spend most of their time developing trade skills within SES as part of their on the job training, while studying part-time at TAFE at the Certificate III or diploma level. Towards the end of their four year tenure, the apprentices can be made available to DST teams with specific project work which further develops the technical skills already developed.

Recently one apprentice completed his electronics apprenticeship and is now working within the National Security and Intelligence Division of DST. Another completed his mechanical apprenticeship in February and has moved into a position within the SES mechanical fabrication facility.

While the apprenticeships are non-ongoing positions, Engineering Services Manager Rob Weimann says apprentices have the opportunity to transition into ongoing 4th year positions which then become permanent positions on completion of their apprenticeship.

"From there, DST is their oyster, with opportunities across the organisation depending on their skills and interests." Weimann explains.

Apprentice in the works

Trenorden has recently set up circuitry at DST to characterise explosive detonations for an operational support request.

"I helped set up the instrumentation prior to the blasts which allowed us to measure the velocity of detonation using a flexible circuit board developed at DST," Trenorden explains.

Defence researcher Jeremy Anderson says accessing the apprentices in their fourth year is an avenue for DST and apprentices to "try before we buy".

"Having the apprentices participate in experiments gives them the opportunity to apply the theory they have been learning but more importantly allows them to see if they would like to work in areas after their apprenticeship," Anderson says.

"Ashley has had all the necessary inductions, so depending on work requirements he may find an on-going position with us."

Efficient use of resources

For his part, Trenorden is enjoying his DST tasking.

"These guys have been really good to work with," he says.

"They answered all of my questions beyond my expectations, in a really informative way."

Following a successful completion of the operational support request, Trenorden is now working with his colleagues on providing technical support to a series of experiments in the High Explosive Firing Complex at DST as well as field trials.