Indigenous construction students tool up before tackling regional hospital

A GROUP of Indigenous men from the local area are completing an intensive course prior to working on the South East Regional Hospital (SERH). 

Offered through the TAFE Illawarra Institute Bega campus, the Certificate II in Construction is a 10-day course.

On completion, the trainees will be employed full-time by Brookfield Multiplex on the SERH worksite for 12 months. 

There they will be rotated through the different trades, to get an understanding of where they would like to go.

“The outcomes are good training, a formal qualification and hopefully further employment,” Moruya TAFE teacher of Building and Construction/Carpentry Barry Butterworth said. 

He also said the trainees will get experience and employability skills and he hopes some sub-contractors will take on the trainees as apprentices after the 12-month period. 

On Tuesday, the group of 10 students were learning about working safely from heights, and simulated someone falling from a height.

Other subjects the trainees engaged in included carpentry projects, work safety in construction, workplace communication, and a power tool induction.

“It’s focused on not so much theory as experience,” Mr Butterworth said. 

The trainees had to apply and were picked for the course by Hunter Valley Training Company.

Mr Butterworth said while some of the students had some experience on a worksite, they hadn’t yet managed to find full-time work. 

He said the course provided the trainees with increased self-esteem, confidence and, from that, trust.

“It’s going to have some great outcomes, that’s what we’re hoping,” Mr Butterworth said. 

Moruya TAFE teacher Sean Phillips said the trainees were performing above his expectations.

“I haven’t got one complaint about the boys,” Mr Phillips said.

“They’re all aware of the opportunity they’ve got and they’re keen to do it.”

Trainee Colin Langlo said the training was going well and he was learning new skills such as scaffolding and measurement. 

 “It’s a good career opportunity for local Kooris to pursue employment,” Mr Langlo said. 

Mr Langlo applied for the course for a career change, and said it had been a “confidence booster”.

He hoped the course will lead to future long-term employment. 

On July 1, the current trainees will start at SERH, and a second group will undertake the certificate training in August.

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