It was a case of double trouble for Hastings Deering trainers when Rockhampton twins Eddie and Jack Hemings reported for apprenticeship induction.
The 18-year-old diesel fitter apprentices joined 38 others from across Queensland and the Northern Territory for their first week of work at the machinery giant’s Brisbane headquarters for two weeks of induction training before returning to their hometown workshop.
Hastings Deering was swamped with 2695 applications, 1000 in the first week alone, with only 40 chosen, so competition was strong. Not only was this a record application intake year, but in a first in the company’s 74-year history as a Cat dealer: the Hemings are the first twins to be inducted in the same apprenticeship at the same time.
The duo, who often speak together and finish each other’s sentences, were thrilled Hastings Deering offered them both a place. The duo said:
“We hoped we might both get in, since we are twins, but weren’t sure they would take us both. We took it with a grain of salt that if one did and the other one didn’t so be it, but luckily they took us both and it has been amazing so far.”
“We both have a love for diesel engines and machinery in general. The biggest challenge will be learning all the modules and I guess working and learning around COVID restrictions if it kicks in again.”
“Even at school we knew we wanted to do a trade: apprenticeships, and then a trade seems to be the right track to ensure employment even in the most difficult of times.”
The breakdown of applicants includes 15% females, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders accounting for 8%: both sectors up in 2020 figures. Adding to that, 18 of the 40 are considered mature age with Rockhampton’s Warren Kaerger the oldest at 46.
Townsville’s Kassandra Palmer applied for her diesel fitter apprenticeship after completing five weeks work experience at Hastings Deering and being a Student Ambassador with the Queensland Resources Council’s QMEA program.
Hastings Deering chief operating officer Mark Scott said apprenticeships continued to be highly sought after with applications up 30% on 2020 which was also a record year, up 26% on the intake applications for 2019. Across its operations in Queensland and the Northern Territory, Hastings Deering is currently training more than 200 apprentices.
Mr Scott said the majority of applications were for diesel fitter and auto electrician apprenticeships. He said:
“The diesel fitter apprenticeship is clearly the applicant’s preferred trade across all our locations. Our focus was again to target a diverse range of people for our apprenticeship program which has been showing significant success.”
“Mackay and Rockhampton apprentices again dominated the cohort. This is driven both by the calibre of the applicants as well as our pipeline of work in the regions, linked to the resources’ sector as well as supporting the construction industry.”
“The high number of applications is also a reflection of our commitment to promoting STEM by actively partnering with the Queensland Resources Council and their Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy program which reaches 80 affiliated schools from as far north as Mount Isa and Townsville, to Central Queensland and the Coalfields as well as Brisbane in the South East.”
“Hastings Deering continues to take a long-term view when it comes to investing in the training and development of its people and working with world-class Caterpillar machinery, our apprentices learn about the repair, servicing and maintenance of a massive range of equipment, engines and power systems.”