Clarke Energy: Developing Talent and Providing Workplace Longevity

Clarke Energy continues to prioritise business growth by investing in its workforce through its apprentice scheme. The apprenticeship program in Australia remains a vital tool for attracting and nurturing top talent, as our experienced and highly trained personnel impart their skills and knowledge to the next generation of employees.

We sat down with two of our current apprentices, Cody Schwartzkopff, a first-year apprentice, and Lachlan Richard, who started with us as one of our very first apprentices back in 2020, to chat about their apprenticeship and Clarke Energy.

Cody has been with Clarke Energy for just eight weeks and is in his first year of the Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade Apprenticeship. Cody is an Adelaide local, spending most of his time enjoying the local scenery with his young family. Despite only being at the company for a short period, Cody has already had the opportunity to travel with the company and gain hands-on experience. He states “It’s great here as a first year, you’re straight into it on the job and not just standing around watching. You’re not treated like a number; you’re treated like a person”. He enjoys the physical aspect of his apprenticeship and likes to be out of the office and into the field. He mentions Clarke Energy’s supportive leadership and family-oriented culture have made him feel like a valued member of the team and he is excited about the future opportunities that lie ahead.

Lachlan, on the other hand, has been with Clarke Energy for three years and is now in the fourth year of his Mechanical Trade apprenticeship. A country boy at heart, Lachlan grew up in the small town of Whyalla, before moving to Adelaide to start university, originally starting off in medical biotech, before changing to studying to be a commercial pilot. Pivoting, he eventually decided he wanted to work out in the field doing more labour-intensive work, finding himself applying to Clarke Energy’s apprentice scheme. Lachlan enjoys finding faults and fixing problems, as well as getting his hands dirty.  His favourite project in his time at Clarke Energy so far was a power station build based in Gruyere (NT), working on the Jenbacher J624 engines, where he was able to travel, get out in the field, work on bigger engines and see the project really come to life.  He states “I like that I get to work in a niche and diverse area and that I get to see parts of Australia that I wouldn’t normally get to visit.” During the course of his apprenticeship, Lachlan has also completed additional training, from first aid to working at heights and specific Jenbacher training programs, with Type B Gas Fitting planned for some time in the near future – all helping him to upskill for the future.

Both Cody and Lachlan credit Clarke Energy for providing them with excellent training opportunities and ongoing support, and they feel like valued members of the team.

The company’s apprenticeship program is committed to not only training but future development and ongoing support post-apprenticeship.

Gerry Schoder, Operations Coordinator at Clarke Energy Australia, oversees the apprentices and states:
“In the three years that Lachlan has been with Clarke Energy, he has displayed a high degree of mechanical aptitude and shown a genuine interest in learning, and whilst Cody has only been with us for a short time, we can already see he has the same traits.  They, as well as our other fourth year apprentice, William Ingram, are all enthusiastic about their work and are keen to further develop their skills and understanding of the trade.”

Clarke Energy’s apprenticeship program is a shining example of the company’s commitment to developing talent and providing longevity. The experiences of Cody and Lachlan demonstrate the value of the program and how it is preparing them for successful careers within the company.

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