July 29th, 2016

Tasmania has opened up a new Manufacturing Centre of Excellence in response to statewide skills shortages in construction and manufacturing. Located in the former Tasmania TAFE headquarters, the centre comes at a time when National Skills Week is gathering momentum nationwide in a bid to educate people on the importance of VET in appropriately skilling people for the workforce.

Open to TAFE’s and other training providers in Tasmania, the centre includes a simulated work environment that will assist students in hands-on training, allowing them to be appropriately trained and ready for employment. Developments such as these will work to attract new apprentices in the manufacturing field, efforts that are also needed in Tasmania’s construction Industry.

Tasmania is in the midst of a building boom, one of which involved four hundred new apartments being built for the University of Tasmania last year. Peter Adams, Fairbrother Builders Divisional Manager, teamed with TasTAFE during that time urgently seeking trained apprentices. Despite a rise in new work, the apprentice shortage trend continues today with Master Builders Association of Tasmania Executive Director Michael Kerschbaum telling Sourceable recently that Tasmania “won’t have enough local labour to go around,” and that an increase in imported labour could occur as a result.

“Those looking to enter the construction and manufacturing industries need to be encouraged and made aware of the many benefits that TAFE and Vocational Education can provide them,” says Kirstin Casey, General Manager at SkillsOne.

“The construction Industry in Tasmania, and nationwide, is booming and many new job opportunities are opening up. Apprentices who study through VET will be granted long-term job security, exposure to a range of new projects, and be provided with support while they study and work.”

These are just some of the many benefits of VET to be celebrated throughout National Skills Week, with a launch to take place at Tasmania TAFE, Hobart, on August 31st. An Australian Training Awards Alumni will attend the event, shedding light on how VET has provided them with a successful career path.

Australian Training Award’s 2014 Tasmanian Apprentice of the Year Richard Wilkinson completed a Certificate III in Carpentry after he realised the value of being technically and practically skilled in a trade. He says the experience was highly valuable, and the recognition he gained from the Australian Training Awards allowed him to share his story, and inspire others into taking up an Australian Apprenticeship.

“Being paid to learn was a great part of the apprenticeship, the whole experience was enjoyable and very rewarding – particularly gaining lifelong skills, “ Richard said.

Initially a qualified architect, Richard felt the need to further understand his designs and take a step away from his office desk, which is why he turned to VET.

“Studying at university I learned a lot about building, and sort of had a general knowledge about how everything went together, but it wasn’t until actually being onsite and working with other builders that I really filled in the gaps.

“I got to have a really good understanding on how everything actually goes together and how something that started as an idea becomes a built form, which is really satisfying,” the Tasmanian award winner and Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador said.

SkillsOne promotes these stories and many more during National Skills Week from August 24th to September 9th.

“National Skills Week will share VET stories in an effort to enlighten people on the benefits of taking up an apprenticeship,” says Kirstin Casey.

Join us in celebrating National Skills Week by organising an event, or taking part in the many events that can be found on the National Skills Week website: https://www.nationalskillsweek.com.au/get- involved/events/.

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