Civil construction taster program information ses-sions were held earlier this month for local secondary students to explore career opportunities in the industry.

These sessions were facilitated by Gippsland East Local Learning and Employment Network (GELLEN), in conjunction with local secondary schools and industry professionals including Colin Johnson (civil construction trainer at Federation Training), Faye Doherty (careers liaison with Civil Contractors Federation) and Dennis and Michael Crane (owners/operators of Cranes Asphalting and Bitumen Sealing).

Information about the growth and job opportunities in civil construction was highlighted at the information sessions.

Civil construction is a region-al industry leader and a huge employer locally employing 10 per cent of the workforce. Construction is also the fastest growing industry for jobs growth in the region, expanding at 25 per cent since 2006.

Both the commonwealth and state governments are allocating budgets for major infra-structure projects, but currently only 50 per cent of the workforce required to deliver these projects is skilled and ready for work.

Ms Doherty explained that civil construction is an exciting industry to work in, offering a broad range of career path-ways and a high level of transferable skills that can lead in many different directions.

There is also a strong focus on vocational learning within the industry, a point that Dennis Crane agreed with, encouraging school-based apprenticeships “so that when employees enter into the work-force they have already begun on their training pathways”.

Michael Crane shared his personal story with the students of how he left school in year 11 to become an apprentice in the family business.

From there he progressed to business management and eventually his master of business. Michael’s career path ascension has given him invaluable experience in many fields, including project and financial management, estimating and coordinating large numbers of people on work sites.

“You never stop learning once you are in the work-force,” Michael said.

Through these information sessions, students had the opportunity to question the presenters and were asked if they would be interested in finding out more about the industry.

Students were asked to register their interest in a taster pro-gram and an encouraging number of participants came forward. By understanding each student’s interests and training preferences, the agencies can work together to deliver targeted programs.

Planning for students to be offered a three-day industry experience program is now underway following the Information sessions. The program will include a structured work-place learning placement and students will be encouraged to explore school-based apprenticeship options.

“Taster programs are a great opportunity for you to trial the industry. Did you enjoy the things you learned about the industry today?” Ms Doherty asked.

“We aim to help you with the information you need to see if the civil construction industry is for you.”

Published in the Bairnsdale Advertiser, Friday September 15, 2017

Written by Jes John