MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria — Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:37:34):
My ministers statement today is on the importance of not only training in regional communities but training that leads to good, sustainable jobs.
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting workers at Benalla’s LS Precast facility who supply precast concrete for some of Victoria’s biggest infrastructure projects.
The $60 million facility is operated by a local family business and at its peak capacity can produce up to 1500 tonnes of concrete product per day. This makes it the largest precast manufacturing facility in Victoria, creating around 400 jobs and providing a major boost to the local economy.
In 2018 the need for skilled workers to work at the plant was identified. GOTAFE partnered with LS Precast in setting up a pilot project to address skills shortages in the Benalla region, particularly in formwork and concreting.
There were nine participants in the 2018 program, all of whom are now employed at the site at LS Precast. This is a great example of how regional TAFEs together with local industries are working together to deliver the skills needed for local people to get jobs in their local community.
It is worth mentioning that these workers are now contributing to one of this state’s largest and most important infrastructure projects, the West Gate Tunnel project.
This program, which will run again this year, along with free TAFE courses at GOTAFE, will ensure that the pipeline of skilled workers continues to flow in Benalla and across northern Victoria. GOTAFE is offering 47 of the 50 free TAFE courses across its campuses, giving regional Victorians an opportunity to train locally and to get the skills they need to work locally.