Jess Haydon’s journey to Beazley Medallist

Growing up on a rural property and a life-long interest in machinery contributed to deciding, at the age of 15, the ATAR pathway wasn’t for him.

“I knew I had to follow my interest in working with my hands and operating machinery so I investigated a vocational education and training pathway,” Jess said.

Jess’s drive to be employable at the end of Year 12 pushed him to be the first student at his school to undertake external VET training while still attending school and achieving his WACE.

Jess has accrued a strong list of achievements. He finished school with outstanding results, won a School Curriculum and Standards Authority VET Exhibition for Construction Industries, attained a Certificate II in Civil Construction and achieved the 2018 VET DUX award at Swan Valley Anglican Community School. He was also named among the State’s best as one of four finalists for WA Vocational Student of the Year in the 2018 WA Training Awards, and was the only secondary school finalist in this category.

WA schools are now starting to see the benefits of partnering with registered training organisations to provide training and promote career options that arise from the study of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), helping students like Jess transition from school to employment or further training.

Jess said using knowledge from his mathematics and English classes while doing his training was invaluable because it helped him understand and complete calculations on site. For example; when drawing scaled plans of a property, he would use trigonometry to find the angle of a pathway. It also assisted him with the application of new technology, interpreting building plans and operating machinery. Finding the practical value of his school subjects, throughout his traineeship in civil construction at Ertech, gave him drive and motivation to do better at school. “I wanted to be good at it, so I really cracked down on all my school subjects as well. I became an A-grade student topping my classes instead of an average student. It just turned me around really.” Jess is now employed as a fly-in, fly-out worker with Ertech on Barrow Island.

The McGowan Government has a strong focus on STEM and has recently released its strategy Future jobs, future skills – Driving STEM skills in Western Australia. The vision of this strategy is to create ‘a globally competitive and innovative workforce with the skills to drive Western Australia’s technological future and create new job opportunities’.

As demonstrated by Jess, the WA VET sector plays an important role in providing STEM training and skill development for Western Australians. Quality training and reskilling in STEM provides students with the skills they will need for the future to compete and adapt in a job market that is constantly evolving.

Page last updated January 13, 2020