BDC paving the way for future employees

Friday, 08 Oct 2021

Meet Bishop Druitt College student, Will Mackie. 

Will is following his passion and artistic talents and has embarked on a school based apprenticeship with local employer, Coffs Harbour Hardwoods, where he is undertaking a  Certificate III in Timber Machining through TAFE NSW.  

In 2021, he will complete Year 12, and continue working full time for his employer for the remainder of his apprenticeship.

“I wanted to finish my HSC, but also start a trade, so I signed up for the BDC school-based apprenticeship program,” said Will. 

“Now my employer, alongside many other local businesses, is working alongside BDC to find other apprentices and trainees for their businesses, through the BDC Career Pathways Program.” 

Russell Landrigan from Coffs Harbour Hardwoods, with BDC apprenticeship student, Will Mackie.

Will is one of many students at Bishop Druitt College who is currently participating in the BDC Career Pathways Program, designed to meet the emerging needs of students entering the future world of work, but also the needs of business and industry. 

“The program addresses the growing importance of career education in schools in preparing our youth for the workplace of the future,” said Mrs Gina Driscoll, Career Pathways Program manager. 

Traditionally, career education is delivered to secondary students, usually in years 10 - 12. The BDC Career Pathways Program is unique in Coffs Harbour as it is delivered to students from year 5, where activities are designed for each year level, and built upon throughout their BDC schooling. 

BDC students from year five learn about the importance of good decision making and resilience and how these can help their future life and career.

“At the end of their school journey, BDC students will have explored their own individual strengths and abilities, interests and values, and career personalities. They will also have learned to access current labor market information and career exploration tools,” said Mrs Driscoll. 

Year 12 students Aaron and Tayla start their university and TAFE applications with BDC careers counsellor, Gina Driscoll.

This innovative program has earned BDC recognition as a finalist in the 2021 Coffs Coast Business Awards - Excellence in Innovation category. 

The BDC Career Pathway Program has already been well-received by Coffs Coast business, industry and community. The college has been actively working with local businesses on employment and training opportunities for students, this year introducing an innovative new Internship program for Year 10 students. 

To find out more about how your business can partner with the BDC Career Pathway Program, visit or email Gina Driscoll on