New construction simulation centre to transforms tradie training

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
4 Min Read

Plans have been unveiled for a new cutting-edge trade innovation centre that will transform the future of trade training.

The state-of-the-art Trade Innovation Centre by RMIT University will take hands-on construction simulation training to another level in its bid to prepare Australia’s next generation of tradies for real-world challenges.

The indigenous named Murmuk-Nganjin Marnang Centre, meaning “we work hands”, will allow students to graduate “job ready” by learning on simulated work sites and structures using the latest tools and tech.

The 1.7 sq km centre will include a 2.5m deep sand pit, double height ceilings and even a three-storey building construction training rig so students can learn in several different workplace-simulated environments.

Cutting edge trade simulations

Split into ‘trade zones’, students from each sector will work together to understand how their jobs intersect and develop on-site communication skills.

Many lessons will take place inside imitated workplaces, such as constructed building frames, subfloors and even on the centre’s roof, to give students a sense of what it’s like to work on a real construction site.

Mobile work benches will be linked to virtual, augmented, and mixed reality teaching programs to allow students to develop hazardous skills safely before engaging in risky ‘live’ situations, such as welding.

Some of the building’s internal infrastructure will also remain on display for students, including exposed sanitation and water tanks and solar panels for them to work on.

RMIT Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Vocational Education and Vice-President Mish Eastman says the centre will prepare tomorrow’s tradies for an industry under adaptation to new technologies and more sustainable construction practices.

“Victoria is undergoing a significant transformation, marked by major infrastructure investment, a shift to a clean economy, and evolving occupational requirements,” she said.

Centre to become tradie conveyor belt

Based at RMIT’s Bundoora East campus, the technology-focused facility aims to build a construction worker pipeline for Melbourne’s northern corridor.

The region is set to grow exponentially over the next decade, with an anticipated population increase of nearly 50 per cent by 2036, bringing an additional 500,000 residents.

Those increases are part of a statewide population boom, with Victoria desperately needing additional tradies to meet the predicted infrastructure and housing demand.

Projections show the state will need an additional 4,000 electricians, 2,400 plumbers and 500 refrigeration mechanics by 2025.

Being located within one of Melbourne’s highest growth zones will allow student tradies to take advantage of various apprenticeship and work placement opportunities during and after their studies.

Ms Eastman says the Trades Innovation Centre will enable RMIT to make a much-needed contribution towards the forecasted demand over the next five years.

“There is a need for hundreds of thousands of additional construction workers in the next five years to meet evolving industry workforce requirements and government
initiatives such as the Victorian Big Build,” she said.

“In addition to meeting shortages in the workforce, the sector also needs to adopt technology innovation to improve productivity.”

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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.