Dressed in their high-visibility shirts, the region's newest crop of BlueScope Steel employees proudly posed for a group photo.
The 31 recruits, which include 23 apprentices and eight cadets, yesterday launched their new careers at a welcoming event at TAFE Illawarra's Wollongong campus.
The group will begin a two-month training program at the TAFE before heading to new jobs in, among others, fitting and machining, electrotechnology, metal fabrication and welding, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and mechatronics.
The eight-week course is intensive, covering six months' worth of material in order for the students to start learning on the job as soon as possible.
YangMing Goh, from Merewether in Newcastle, is pursuing a part-time electrical engineering cadetship, which includes studying for a degree at university.
"I'm curious about how things work and want to be able to fix things," the 18-year-old said.
"I'm looking forward to just trying out different things and learning how to do things on a job instead of just learning theory."
Former Holy Spirit College student Cameron Flint, 19, had secured a mechanical apprenticeship, which will take four years to complete.
He has always wanted to pursue a trade and was keen to learn a wide range of new skills.
"I know there will be a lot of different things I can learn and I'll never really get bored," he said.
"I just like working with my hands."
TAFE Faculty Director Trades and Technology Marty Burgess said the customised training program was a good example of TAFE and businesses working together, as the recruits would have job-ready skills once their first eight weeks of training were complete.
The apprentices will attend TAFE over the course of their training while the cadets will attend university.