WORK hard and play to your strengths, was the advice Loyola Senior High School's students were given when Dick Smith made a flying visit on Wednesday, landing his helicopter on the school's oval.
It's the third time the businessman has met with year 11 and 12 students at the school's Trade Training Centre. Mr Smith started his first electronics company at 23 with $610.
Director Tammy Prestage said the federal government introduced the Trade Training Centre model to combat the high failure rate of first year apprentices.
"We have 60 per cent of our students in first year, school-based apprenticeships and we have a 97 per cent success rate," she said. "It's a great way of combining HSC with a start for the future. It maximises the students' qualifications so they leave with the most they can possibly do. It's a breath of fresh air for students of this area to have someone of his calibre visit the school.
"The excitement is wonderful."
The centre offers 11 trades, including hair and beauty, automotive, carpentry, shop-fitting, communication, and hospitality.
Year 11 student Amy Kiteau, 16, eight weeks into a beauty course, said the structure kept opportunities open.
‘‘We get three certificates, one for business, one for tourism and one for beauty,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s completely up to you which one you choose to use.’’
Mr Smith told students he had a speech defect until he was eight and had worked hard at each of the three companies he has owned.
"You've got to ask yourself 'What am I good at?' Quite often the thing you're good at requires the hardest work."