Weld Australia’s new tradie education tool top of its class

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
4 Min Read

Weld Australia’s new forward-thinking education resources have taken home one of the top gongs at Australia’s premier manufacturing awards.

The peak welding industry body’s overhauled manufacturing and engineering (MEM) training program was announced as the Excellence in Manufacturing Skills Development category winner at the Endeavour Awards last week.

The welder training program has been praised for re-sparking interest from the next generation of tradies, providing an education rethink to keep students better engaged.

The 12 learning modules are completely accessible online, allowing students to learn at the time, place, and pace that suits them through methods and technology they use frequently.

The strategic change to incorporate more online, video and portable learning methods is a welcome update to an outdated training curriculum the industry has long viewed as needing a refresh.

Weld Australia CEO Geoff Crittenden says providing future-focused education resources has helped provide world-class skills training to students by focusing on their learning experience.

“Our resources help simplify the learning process for students, teachers and training institutes and—most importantly—place the student at the centre of the learning process,”

Australia’s welding sector is undergoing a labour shortage crisis, with half the nation’s workshops operating below 80 per cent capacity.

Declining worker numbers fused with high apprenticeship drop-out rates have predicted the trade to be 70,000 welders short by 2030.

Curriculum refresh to re-spark interest

The refreshed training modules will provide a much-needed update for TAFEs across Australia, with the nation’s welding course curriculums not previously updated in the last 25 years.

Mr Crittenden says the industry needed to revolutionise the education and training sector to resolder student interest in the trade.

“Weld Australia believes that a national industry, which has a national learning package, needs national learning resources,” Mr Crittenden said.

“Whether you’re an apprentice in Kalgoorlie, Ultimo or Davenport, you should have access to the same high-quality training. Our goal is to help ensure that high-quality welder learning is consistent across the country.”

The revamped resources have proved to be a massive hit at TAFEs throughout the year, with the feedback received from students and lecturers alike being extremely positive.

Executive director of Engineering, Transport and Defence at South Metropolitan TAFE, Jonathan Maile, said the online units provided flexibility and consistency to welder training that would only benefit the industry.

“Being able to link in with Weld Australia and other TAFEs, improved training outcomes—there is a better consistency from a technical perspective Australia-wide,” he said.

“It has improved our focus on digitisation and e-learning, and the increased the flexibility of how we deliver…If apprentices miss classes, they can access the resources and catch up more quickly than trying to reschedule another block later on.”

TAFE general manager Brenda Micale said working alongside Weld Australia to develop the modules was one of the key reasons behind their success so far.

“On our own, we could have developed an adequate suite of materials for the qualification. Through the national collaboration, we got much higher quality resources. On a TAFE budget, we never could have got all the bells and whistles—the videos, the eLearning—it’s just financially out of our reach,” she explained.

“…You can see apprentices engaging with the technology. They’re able to download it onto their mobile phones, they can play the videos – it’s interactive.”

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.

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