Monday, July 9th, 2012
Eighteen electrical apprentices left without work following the closure of Watters Electrical in Melbourne have been found new placements by the Victorian training arm of the peak Australian electrical industry body the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA).

Six of the 18 apprentices were direct employees of Watters Electrical, part of the Hastie Group which collapsed last month, and the other 12 were NECA Apprenticeships employees on placement with the company.

Some of the apprentices employed by Watters had only been with the company for three months and were relieved and grateful to have been given the opportunity to continue their careers.

Ben Casey from Rowville said; "I’m very relieved to say the least under the circumstances and grateful for the opportunity to finish my apprenticeship."

"It was good that they took us on when we were at our lowest - they have given us a life-line," added Michael De Fontenay from Beaumaris.

Jesse McVeigh from Airport West commented, "It’s excellent obviously after being left in the lurch, and not knowing what the future held. I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue my apprenticeship.”

NECA Apprenticeships, which is part of the 370o group based in North Carlton, were able to find new placements for the apprentices after holding various talks with electrical contractors interested in hosting these apprentices through the organisation.

370° group Chief Executive Officer Carl Phillips said, “The closure of Watters Electrical was a big blow to the electrical industry in Melbourne and we’re pleased that we’ve been able to soften the blow by not only finding new host companies for the 12 apprentices we had placed with the company but by also taking on six former Watters Electrical apprentices and placing them with businesses in the Melbourne area.”

The way that NECA Apprenticeships works is that apprentices are effectively leased to electrical contractors with the organisation taking care of all HR and payroll related functions for them during their four year apprenticeship, allowing the host business to focus on the job at hand.

“What we offer at NECA Apprenticeships is a win win solution for both prospective apprentices and electrical contractors in need of extra workers,” said Mr Phillips.

“We carefully select people who are suitable to become electrical apprentices and provide them with the necessary training for them to pursue a career in the electro-technology industry. Part of this training involves on the job placements with various contractors.

“A lot of electrical contractors are fairly small businesses and don’t have the resources to take on apprentices but could do with extra workers. We solve this problem by managing all employment related processes for our apprentices such as superannuation, taxation, workcover, training and mentoring support. We even supply the uniforms and tools!

"We’re the best at developing the safest and technically proficient apprentices in the industry. The ex-Watters apprentices are now a part of our purpose and belief."

The 370° group is one of Victoria and Tasmania’s leading Group Training Organisations and trade
based Registered Training Organisations.

Owned by NECA, the 370° group was established in 1992 to service the electrical industry and has since grown into four divisions, 370° traineeships, NECA Apprenticeships, NECA Skills Centre and tastec group training, all offering a selection of business activities in employment and vocational training.

For more information about the 370° group please visit

A photo is available of three of the Watters Electrical apprentices now employed by NECA Apprenticeships - Ben Casey, Michael De Fontenay and Jesse McVeigh. Please email [email protected] to receive it.


Contact Profile

Peter Scott - Media and Communications Manager

P: 02 9439 8523
M: 0457 767 328


NECA, National Electrical and Communications Association, Watters Electrical, electrical apprentices,



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