QUEANBEYAN TAFE will become a major regional skills hub after a new multi-purpose trade facility was launched on Monday.
The $5.5 million investment in local industry will provide expanded vocational and technical training in bricklaying, horticulture, automotive engineering, aged care, hairdressing, children’s services, responsible services of alcohol and responsible conduct of gambling among others.
The facility will also boost training ties with local high schools, and offer more specialised skills-based training for senior high school students.
Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly was on hand to open the new facility, and said it would help to address the shortage in skilled workers throughout the region.
“Australia has been asleep at the wheel in facing this big [skills] challenge,” Dr Kelly said.
“This is a country that can’t compete with China and India in a race to the bottom on wages.
“Where we will gain our major leaps in productivity, and the well-being, prosperity and living standards of this nation will be in addressing those key areas of infrastructure, innovation and of skills in particular.”
One trade set to benefit from the new facility is bricklaying, and course convener Terry Denniss said there was large demand for bricklayers in the area.
“There’s a very large demand for bricklaying in the region at the moment, particularly with Canberra booming and with Googong going up as well,” Mr Denniss said.
“It’s a good paying job and it’s good outdoors work. You can build your own house and you make friends with carpenters and electricians, and they do bits of work for you here and there, so it’s a really rewarding career I’d say for any young guys and girls who are interested.
“It’s a hard job, but you get used to the work,” he said.
“I mean, I’m 45 and I’m still as physically fit as I was when I was 20. It is physically tough work, but also very enjoyable work,” he said.
Queanbeyan TAFE will also offer new ‘taster’ courses in bricklaying for high school students.
Illawarra TAFE institute director Christine Warrington said the upgraded training college was a partnership between the Department of Education and Communities, Illawarra and South East Region TAFE and local high schools, backed by over $5 million in federal funding.
“The expansion of Queanbeyan Campus will allow for growth in traditional trade areas and programs that meet the needs of the local industry and community,” she said.
“The new multi-purpose facility will provide state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for the delivery of automotive engineering and industrial technology courses.
“The facility will also include refurbishment of two other buildings for the delivery of general education, health assisting, aged care and hairdressing.
“In addition, equipment would also be purchased for hospitality and building and construction training at Karabar High. The school’s carpentry section would also be refurbished.