August 4th, 2016

August is Tradies National Health Month, a time to remind trades workers on working safely and being aware of their surroundings on-site, and a time to encourage more people to enter the sector through a VET pathway. National Skills Week in August will assist in this effort, enlightening people on the importance of Australian trades workers to the economy, and how their rising numbers play a crucial role in building Australia’s future.

According to Unions NSW and new reports released last week, skills shortages in Australia’s construction industry has resulted in more foreign workers being recruited in an attempt to meet rising demands. Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey believes that more attention needs to be placed on the importance of Australian Apprenticeships and TAFE for their ability to produce skilled trades people ready to enter the workforce.

When talking with 2GB, Mark said that Australia has seen a decrease in trades workers being trained at TAFE, which has contributed toward the undercutting of the market. “We are looking around for skilled people, and they are just not around,” Mark said to 2GB.

“At a time when our economy is softening and traditional jobs and workplaces are ever changing we need to invest in people’s ability to gain the skills needed to survive and thrive.”

National Skills Week in August will put the building and construction industry under the spotlight and bring greater understanding to Vocational Education and the many career pathways it provides for people wanting to pursue a trade.

“Our National launch this year in Melbourne at the Queen Victoria Markets will include a range of trades and skills displays which we encourage people to come along and interact with,” Kirstin Casey, General Manager at SkillsOne said.

One such display is a building and try-a-trade area that is being put on by the Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation and Worldskills.

“The industry has a number of new building projects taking shape, and there are abundant work opportunities available for all Australians who have a passion for a trade, whether it’s plumbing, electrical, building, painting or bricklaying,” Kirstin said.

Important to National Skills Week are the stories that radiate from VET, including Australian Training Awards Alumni who encourage others to take up a VET pathway and be the best in their chosen field.

Rather than returning to university to complete a degree in accounting and law, Australian Training Award’s 2015 Apprentice of the Year Finalist Tevita Supilani Ma’ilei decided to become a trades worker and complete a Certificate III in Carpentry. The catalyst for choosing a VET pathway for Tevita, was the need to obtain a secure career so that he was able to provide long-term support to his family.

The skills Tevita obtained through Vocational Training built him into a professional tradesman with highly regarded leadership and technical skills, allowing him to take charge of the re-building of Observatory House in Canberra, a responsibility only given to the best in the field. Now employed full time, Tevita wants to use his abilities to provide a better quality of life for others, done so by building housing for those in unfortunate situations.

“There are many stories involving people who used the Vocational Training they were provided to make an impact on other people’s lives, and their own lives, which is extremely rewarding for an aspiring individual,” Kirstin Casey said.

“National Skills Week is about shedding light on these benefits, and many others, in an attempt to bring greater awareness to the world-class training that VET provides, and how it can work to fill gaps in trades skills shortages, and provide long-term employment for all Australians.”

For further information on Tevita’s story or that of other Australian Training Awards Alumni and Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors visit

Join us in celebrating National Skills Week and how VET provides endless career opportunities. Organise an event, or take part in the many events that can be found on the National Skills Week website:

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