More than 70 young people are now closer to their chosen careers after graduating from Hunter Trade College.
The students attended their graduation ceremony at the Telarah headquarters on Tuesday.
The college takes students through two years of study, in which they gain hands on trade experience as well as their Higher School Certificate (HSC).
Students pursue training and study in fields of construction, automotive, metal and engineering or electrotechnology trades.
In year 11, the students attend the college three days a week to learn English, mathematics, computer applications and trade certificates II and III.
The students engage in industry-based learning the other two days of the week in a designated workplace.
The work experience component is increased to three days a week in year 12.
Hunter Trade College business manager Terry O’Brien said the service was a great alternative to mainstream education.
“There are kids that are really disengaged in real school,” he said.
“Here they’re learning at their own pace.”
The teachers themselves are tradespeople, so the students gain an understanding of the trade environment.
“Being here is like being in the workplace,” Mr O’Brien said.
In 2015, 86 per cent of the year 12 students went into fulltime apprenticeships, employment or further tertiary training.
But the college gives the students more than just a job.
Mr O’Brien said it was “chalk and cheese” between when some of the students enrolled in the college and when they graduated.
“We do take high-risk kids, we’re a second chance school,” he said.
“This is a safe place for them.”
Students Dylan Barnes, 17, and Luke Bartholomew, 18, graduated on Tuesday and both have already secured full-time jobs in carpentry.
They said along with skills, they had gained a lot more confidence.
Both agreed that they would not have been able to get jobs so quickly had they not attended the college.