Narrandera TAFE’s new Connected Learning Centre is now half-way towards completion.
According to the Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke, who visited the site on Friday, the project is both on-target and within budget. In the lead-up to the opening of the new CLC, Narrandera students will now be able to access more than double the courses that were on offer previously.
“We have, as people know, a number of connected learning centres opening right across TAFE NSW, of which Narrandera is a key to that,” said relieving Deputy General Manager for TAFE NSW Sara Morley. “It’s really exciting for staff and all the students we already have within Narrandera and the opportunities that are going to give them to try new things and to learn new things.”
Among the slew of new courses on offer will be the Trades Essentials course.
“The idea is to just get that entry-level exposure to the industry, and to find out what that industry is about, and also to find out if that industry is for them, if they continue down that path,” Ms Morley explained. “It’s those simple touchpoints with some skills right across the trades industry.
“Research shows that the more you understand about what you go into, the more success you’re likely to have. That commitment and understanding from a young person, or any young person about what they’re doing, will naturally lead to more successes.”
Ms Cooke said that it was good news for Narrandera.
“These short courses will be really great to give people a taste of what these professions are like, and coming out of that they may choose to then specialise in a particular area.
“That is fantastic, because we know there are certain areas like construction and building and carpentry that are really flourishing with the building boom that’s occurring right across NSW.
“We don’t want there to be chronic skills shortages in these areas, and so something like these short courses will really mean that people can come and see what it’s all about before they commit long-term to it.”
An increase in training opportunities locally will hopefully lead to a greater number of young people staying in town to pursue their education.
“This is excellent news for Narrandera Shire,” said Narrandera Shire Mayor Neville Kschenka. “It’s something we’ve been working with over the last few years to try and get services back to Narrandera and improve, and with the help of our local member, this is just an example of our success in this area.
“The new line of courses also offers a great incentive for local students to move on from school, get a taste of what it’s like to do a trade and then move into the workforce. We have great schools in Narrandera and now we will have an even better TAFE, and to encourage our young people to take up a course will have a fantastic impact on our Shire,” Mayor Kschenka continued.
The demand in Narrandera for these courses is already apparent, with some courses open for enrolment for the second semester of this year and are receiving great interest. Semester Two offerings start at the end of July and will be the starting point for these new courses.
The TAFE NSW Connected Learning Centre development is progressing on track, with more than 50 per cent of construction completed. The structure is now in place and workers will soon begin setting up the services through the building. Once the internal is completed, site management will begin on the externals such as carparks and landscaping.
“Obviously the structure’s there and now it’s just the run-through to put the services through, the finishes, trades, then start on externals to get car parks, landscaping, all those works finished off,” said the site manager for Joss Constructions Maurice Wood.
Mr Wood works at the forefront of NSW’s construction boom and offered his first-hand insights into the industry.
“It’s been a battle for quite a long time – for a lot of industries, not just construction – to attract apprentices, and particularly those who have some taste of what the industry’s about. I think this trade essentials is a sensational thing, in that it’s going to open up a lot of the trades to the kids and the awareness of what they’ll get before they undertake an apprenticeship.
“I think it’s a great initiative, certainly from a position like Joss; we’re always battling to find good tradesmen, so if we can increase the amount of apprentices, it’s good for the industry.
“There was a long period where there weren’t a lot of apprentices trained, and I think this is going to attract a few more kids into the industry,” Mr Wood said.