TAFE back in favour: governments set up building centres

Sydney Metro is expected to take a large number of the new apprentices. Barangaroo Station shown.

The Australian and NSW Governments are to open what they say are Australia’s first one-stop-shop training centres for infrastructure jobs and skills training to meet the demands of Sydney’s infrastructure program, including Sydney Metro and the Western Sydney Airport (Badgery’s Creek).

In a joint project between the Australian Government, the NSW Government’s Sydney Metro project, and TAFE NSW’s three infrastructure skills centres in Annandale, Nirimba and Ingleburn, these colleges will engage “industry experienced teachers to train apprentices, trainees and a new generation of workers”.

The NSW Government is providing $4.97 million of the total cost of approximately $6 million through TAFE NSW, with a capital grant from the Australian Government of $950,000. This funding will enable a dedicated services provider to operate on-site, as well as secure equipment to support pre-employment training courses. It is not known whether the “dedicated services provider” will be TAFE NSW itself or an outside contractor/s leasing premises from TAFE.

NSW Assistant Minister for Skills Adam Marshall said the network of three TAFE NSW campuses delivering specialist training centres would be Australia’s first one-stop infrastructure-focused skills centres.

“The three infrastructure skills centres will extend TAFE NSW’s training services to other infrastructure projects and large construction projects such as Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Parramatta Square and the Western Sydney Stadium,” Mr Marshall said.

The NSW Infrastructure Skills Centre at Annandale was designed in conjunction with Sydney Metro to address skills and jobs requirements across the project. A majority of Sydney Metro’s workforce will undertake accredited pre-commencement training at the centre, addressing critical skills gaps and support the transferability of skills to workers as well as encourage them to pursue further learning.

Tailored pre-employment training will be available to a range of special groups including young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse individuals, and women working in non-traditional roles.

Fourteen Indigenous job seekers have already graduated from the centre’s first pre-employment training course, with the majority having been interviewed for jobs on the Sydney Metro project. Many of the successful candidates will also commence training for a Certificate II in Civil Construction to further develop their skills.

Sydney Metro anticipates more than 500 entry-level employees will undertake training through the Infrastructure Skills Centre over five years. TAFE NSW will also deliver training to more than 20,000 workers over the next five years through the Infrastructure Skills Centres supporting major construction projects, including Sydney Metro.


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