Centre of Excellence on the way for Tassie trade industry

THE future is looking bright for the Tasmanian trade industry following a $7 million investment from the Liberal Government to establish a Trades and Water Centre of Excellence.

The new centre, which will be located in Clarence, will include onsite accommodation and a new purpose-built workshop fitted out with the latest technology.

It will offer training courses covering plumbing, electrical, automotive, plastics, refrigeration and air-conditioning.

Minister for Education Jeremy Rockliff said the new centre would help address the increasing demand for skilled workers across a number of sectors, including water and sewage.

“With around 1000 extra jobs expected to be created as a result of our accelerated TasWater plan, it is vital we up-skill local workers to do the job,” he said.

“To maximise enrolments, the facility will offer online courses and training to those in other parts of the state.

“Importantly, this will remove the barrier of travel for theory training that has been the case to date, including plumbers from Launceston having to travel to Devonport.

“As we are committed to creating a job-ready generation of young Tasmanians, we plan to work closely with local employers and industry to ensure the new centre is delivering real skills for real jobs.”

The Trades and Water Centre of Excellence has received stakeholder support from all peak industry bodies.

This includes Master Plumbers Tasmania, Air-Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association, the Tasmanian Building and Construction Industry Training Board, Master Electricians Australia and the National Electrical and Communications Association.

Master Plumbers Tasmania executive officer Angela Bennett said the organisation was “extremely excited” about the future of plumbing trade training in Tasmania.

“Plumbing is currently being delivered out of the Claremont campus and the facility is not capable of delivering the learning experience that we need for our trade,” she said.

“The existing plumbing school was built in the 1980s and, at that time, was considered a contemporary facility.

“Some 30-years on, we have found that the state of the plumbing school is no longer able to deliver what we need as an industry and it’s not viable to inject funds into trying to bring it up to standard.”

Ms Bennett said the new Centre of Excellence would see the plumbing school relocate to the TasTAFE Clarence College.

She said this was where most of the building trades were currently located.

“Bringing plumbing to the site will create a stronger trade presence,” she said.

“Trades will be able to work alongside each other and there will be economies of scale achieved through co-location.

“Master Plumbers Tasmania will be heavily involved in industry consultation on the new facility.

“We will be working with TasTAFE to ensure we have the best possible learning environment to equip our future professionals with the skills to deliver the finest public and environmental health outcomes to Tasmanians.”

Work on the new Trades and Water Centre of Excellence is expected to commence later in the year.

Caption: An artist’s impression of the new Trades and Water Centre of Excellence.