Ten years ago, I commenced my education at the Denmark Agricultural College as the landmark first ever Year 10 group. During my time at Denmark we learnt a broad range of practical and theoretical skills not easily delivered in traditional teaching styles, the way our educators taught was hands on with an expectation that you work things out for yourself; ask for help if needed and learn from your mistakes. This approach to education was a far cry from the teaching skill at my previous public school, this core method of delivery set us (Aggies) in a complete different field in regards to workplace readiness compared to traditionally educated high school students, my fellow pupils and myself to-date still believe our first day at College counted as our first day in the workplace.
The ability to deliver quality education and mentoring wouldn’t have been possible without the small group of dedicated staff. I’ve never met a group of people that are willing to be so committed to a job and put a lot of their own time into it. I reflect on this making learning more enjoyable because the people that taught us truly believe in the education they provided. During 1st Quarter of Year 12 I was student elected as Head Boy, being chosen to represent the College was a privilege and gave me another perspective on how the College operated. It taught me a set of skills not easily obtained and I believe this appointment improved my motivation to be a more considerate and empathetic person. In all, having graduated from the College has paved a pathway for my future working years, as the knowledge and social skills I have learnt during my 3 years there I now use every day.
After completion of my formal high school education I relocated to Perth and commenced work with Lightning & Surge Technology (L&ST) – specialising in lightning risk mitigation across a broad range of sectors including Mining, Heavy Industrial, Commercial, Off & Onshore Oil & Gas. This is where my previous passion for electrical / electronic systems really kicked into gear, quickly attaining skills to specify, design and fabricate complex lighting protection equipment and supporting a booming business prior to the downturn. During this time, I operated my own small sole trading fabrication business running harmoniously with L&ST.
I chose a path to increase my industry knowledge and skills, starting an Apprenticeship in Electrical (Cert III in Electrotechnology – Electrician). The company Professional Cabling Services (PCS) took me on-board, they focus heavily on Communication Systems, namely Structured & Fibre Optic Cabling. Having agreed that they would train me for 1 year and then I was to move onto a more electrically focused business, I got straight into it. During this period, I completed my ACMA Open Cabling License & Parts of Cert III in Communications.
One year later, as it would be, I received a call from a family friend (Owner/ Director) of Karratha Building Company. He offered to continue my apprenticeship with their newly formed electrical division, with consent from PCS. I said yes and within 1 week relocated 1600kms to Karratha. They threw me right in the deep end and within the first month I coordinated the installation of multiple structured & fiber optic cabling jobs. Im my words I learnt to run before I could walk. Looking back there was no better way to learn. The General & Electrical Manager created their own business and left Karratha Building, offering me the opportunity to jump across and support their new business from the ground up. I started as Communications Supervisor and after completion of my “fast tracked” apprenticeship at age 21, I was the sole Electrical & Communications Supervisor. Having tradesmen twice my age under my supervision was a challenge but they saw my ethics and ability so put trust in me. The business grew at an impeccable rate and 2 years flew by.
In April 2018, being ready to tackle this industry myself, I created Sykes Engineering, focusing heavily on communications with a side division being manufacturing. Since conception we have been active in the commercial and mining sectors mainly working for larger tier 2 and 3 EPCM businesses.
Wanting to get back to my supervisor roots, I worked for two large electrical contractors EC&M & CEM on the close to home ground-breaking Talison Greenbushes Lithium CGP2 project. Firstly being in a small QA/QC team for EC&M then moving onto the Electrical Foreman, QA/QC Lead and Permit to work coordinator at CEM, having over 100 electricians onsite.
I am now looking at expanding my business and hope to have financial success due to the potential minerals boom across the State. What Denmark Agriculture College provided me is hard to document on paper, a combined teaching approach working on the students core values and really the transition into adulthood. The person I am today and what I will achieve in the future is thanks to my education at the College. Learning is agriculturally based, but the skills learnt are applicable to all areas of employment and life. I cannot thank the staff enough for their dedication.