Sky's the limit as new apprentices sign on with Sikorsky Australia

New Sikorsky Australia apprentices Luca Taglieri, Nicholas Poelczeto and Joel Grimston.
New Sikorsky Australia apprentices Luca Taglieri, Nicholas Poelczeto and Joel Grimston.

Sikorsky Australia has continued its growth at the Albatross Aviation Technology Park, south west of Nowra, employing another three apprentices.

Part of the Lockheed Martin company, the three apprentice aircraft maintenance engineers join the company's growing Nowra staff at the maintenance and logistics support facility which now totals 140.

The trio comes from different backgrounds, but all with a love and fascination for aeronautics.

Nicholas Poelczer, 20, of Kiama, Luca Taglieri, 20, of Flinders and Joel Grimston, 38, of Cambewarra have joined Sikorsky's formal apprenticeship and trainee program as part of the Commonwealth's $1 million investment over four years to engage and recruit apprentices and trainees in the Shoalhaven region.

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Nicholas had started a physics degree at the University of Wollongong but after deciding it wasn't for him, he worked in Sydney in advertising.

He then spotted the advertisement for the apprenticeship and applied.

"This is a start for me in the aircraft engineering field," he said.

"It's something I'm really looking forward too."

Luca has dipped his toe into the industry having worked for 13 months as a skydive and avionics technician, as well as completing his certificate two in aeroskills.

Lockheed Martin Director Business Development Neale Prescott welcomes new Sikorsky Australia apprentices Joel Grimston, Nicholas Poelczer and Luca Taglieri to the team.

Lockheed Martin Director Business Development Neale Prescott welcomes new Sikorsky Australia apprentices Joel Grimston, Nicholas Poelczer and Luca Taglieri to the team.

"I've always enjoyed tinkering with cars and saw this as the next step," he said.

"Helicopters will be a challenge, mind you I have assembled heaps of models and flown plenty of radio-controlled helos, but this is a bit different in size and scale and have a lot to learn."

Joel comes from a background in the industry, having previously worked as an aircraft life support fitter for another local company.

"I was looking for a change and a new challenge," he said.

"I saw this opportunity and went for it."

At 38, married with a young son, he admits he's probably not the usual fit as an apprentice.

"I just saw this as a good career opportunity," he said, although admitted getting back into studying might be hard.

The company received more than 80 applicants before whittling it down to the final three.

As well as learning on the job the trio will also undertake studies at the Aerospace Training Services in the Flinders Industrial Estate, one week in four.

Once completing their four-year course they will have a TAFE qualification in aircraft maintenance.

"This is a bit different to general aviation," Luca said.

"There are different ways to do things in the commercial world, probably the biggest difference I've already noticed is the amount of paperwork.

"But I'm sure we'll all adapt to this new work environment."

Nicholas admits he has a lot to learn.

"It's all new to me, so I'm just trying to take it all in," he said.

The career even comes with a whole new vocabulary where acronyms are certainly the focus.

New Sikorsky Australia apprentices Joel Grimston, Nicholas Poelczer and Luca Taglieri with a Royal Australian Navy MH-60R (Romeo) maritime helicopter they will son be working on.

New Sikorsky Australia apprentices Joel Grimston, Nicholas Poelczer and Luca Taglieri with a Royal Australian Navy MH-60R (Romeo) maritime helicopter they will son be working on.

It is the second group of apprentices the company has now taken into its local operation, with the trio joining the first four who were engaged 12 months ago.

Every 24 months, Sikorsky will offer two apprenticeship and two trainee positions for placement at the Nowra facilities.

Lockheed Martin Director Business Development Neale Prescott, said the company in Australia was proud to be working with the Commonwealth to support local defence capabilities through the Sikorsky Australia program.

"As an employer of more than 1200 Australian men and women across the country's regional and urban areas, we believe investing in our local workforce and planning for our future workforce is critical to our success and Australia's future defence capabilities," he said.

"As our work becomes more technologically complex, recruiting Australians with the right skills mix for these capabilities is even more important.

"That is the challenge for us.

"We welcome Joel, Luca and Nicholas to our team and look forward to supporting them on their way to becoming fully fledged aircraft maintenance engineers."

Sikorsky Australia's purpose-built maintenance and logistics support facility houses through-life-support services for the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) fleet of 24 MH-60R (Romeo) maritime helicopters.

The MH60 Romeo fleet was built by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, with the mission systems integrated and the full fleet delivered by to the RAN by Lockheed Martin in 2016 and are flown by local squadrons, 816 and 725, based at HMAS Albatross.

Mr Prescott paid credit to Shoalhaven City Council in having the foresight to develop the aviation park adjacent to the HMAS Albatross.

"It's great that so many like-mined companies are now also based here helping to drive the aviation industry."

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